My back, hours after cupping. Photo by Atom Moore
I go almost every week to get acupuncture from a fabulous woman named Michelle LaDue. I started going for anxiety, which acupuncture has really helped, and now whenever I go, we chat about how I'm feeling, what my body and mind are experiencing, and what I'd like to focus on that day. Sometimes it's PMS, sometimes it's a lack of energy, and sometimes it's just a tune-up.
I am also a fervent believer and user of Western medicine, mind you, but from my own experience, acupuncture is a great tool in my quest for personal health and knowledge. The National Institute of Health has been studying acupuncture for years, and while the scientists are still puzzling over why acupuncture works, their studies do show that at the very least, 'acupuncture reduces nausea and vomiting after surgery and chemotherapy... and can relieve pain.' (More info here.)
When I went in last night, Michelle suggested we do some cupping along with acupuncture on my back. Strangely enough, I find cupping more uncomfortable than most of the acupuncture points she hits, although getting needled on my back feels amazing and painless. After the cupping-acupuncture combo, though, I felt ready to rock! Cupping also causes the bruises you see above, which I find pretty hilarious because I look like I was totally macked on by aliens with octopus arms. The bruises are only a little sore if I lean back, and a bit itchy, weirdly enough. Apparently, I'm not alone -- Gwyneth Paltrow, mistress of Goop, was seen a few years ago at the premiere of Anchorman with similar, though less impressive, cupping bruises. (Peep hers here.) I promise not to start drinking olive oil for breakfast, though.
And yeah, Penn and Teller called Bullshit! on cupping, but they can give me a ring once they've joined the NIH and then maybe I'll give a shit.