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So i’ve been rather injured lately

Call it old age, bad form or just dumb-luck – who cares, I’m f*cking sore these days (too much of the time).

I’ve tried many a drug and technique for relieving the pain in my neck, shoulders and back – and I’ve discovered a lot of things along the way.

Mainly that I can’t shoulder press 10 times my weight like I used to, and that I seem to be shedding hair at the rate that Hollywood pumps out ‘sequels’.

If I was an ‘ant’, I’d be demoted to cleaning the Queen ants’ ‘bed-pan’ on a daily basis and little else.

The art of fire cupping. Is it a gimmick?

My own cupping experience left me with a temporarily ‘attractive’ back.

This brings me to fire cupping

What the heck, I thought. Nothing to lose but my dignity and my awesomely smooth non-leopardy back, I thought i’d give this ‘alternative’ technique a whirl. It’s been around for literally thousands of years – what’s the worst that could happen? Right?

What is fire cupping therapy exactly?

Straight from the internets the description is:

“Cupping therapy is an ancient form of alternative medicine in which a local suction is created on the skin; practitioners believe this mobilizes blood flow in order to promote healing. Suction is created using heat (fire) or mechanical devices (hand or electrical pumps). It is known in local languages as baguan/baguar, badkesh, banki, bahnkes, bekam, buhang, bentusa, kyukaku, gak hoi, Hijamah, kavaa, singhi among others.”

More on the full description of cupping can be found here >

The art of fire cupping therapy. Is it a gimmick?

The heavier the bruising, the more ‘toxins’ were built up in the underlying area.

How would I relate my own fire cupping therapy experience?

So you pay your 15 bucks, they slap you down on an uncomfortable table with a hole in it (not what you’re thinking – it’s for your FACE).

They then stick these ‘suction-like’ cups all over your back whilst you lay there uncomfortably for what seems like somewhere between 5 minutes and eternity. I liken it to a form of torture akin to getting a tattoo – but perhaps slightly more gay.

It’s aggravating, uncomfortable and the ‘cups’ that hurt the most are the ones which seem to be removed last. 

At the end of the treatment…

After you’ve been deemed ‘cup-free’, you’re then allowed to sit up, check your welts in the mirror before grinning to the masseuse with an “I knew what I was in for so shut-up buddy” face.

You pay for the use of the ‘cups’ and stumble home to a hot-shower-free-afternoon coupled with the feeling of euphoria and the inability to take your shirt off in a public area ever again.

Did it work?

I hate gimmicks. I really do. So I was, of course, reluctant to give this therapy a try. I have to say, the first time I had it done (coupled with a deep tissue massage) it seemed to work (for a while).

I then came back from my honeymoon, hit the gym and before you know it – I was injured again with a longing for some kind of suction to be applied liberally to my back.

The second time around…

It didn’t seem to work ‘quite’ as well as the first time.

This could be due to the underlying shoulder injury which may have become increasingly worse, or perhaps the ‘cups were broken’ – who’s to say?

Would I try fire cupping therapy again?

Perhaps – But If the injury hangs around, I’ll probably see a doctor for additional advice and a second opinion.

He’ll probably tell me to stop lifting weights for 6 months at which point I’ll respond sharply with “GTFO”.

Until the next round of alternative treatments, this is Clint – signing off.

Clint’s Note: Have you ever experienced fire cupping therapy? Would you rate it? Comment below.

Clint Nielsen

Author Clint Nielsen

Clint is a dad and husband trying to stay in shape. He's also a highly opinionated fitness enthusiast and author of Reveal The Steel. Follow him on: Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and Google+

More posts by Clint Nielsen

Join the discussion 16 Comments

  • Keith says:

    Never tried fire cupping before but I always hear about it. But I gotta admit man, your back does look slightly badass lol.

    Did you see any strength increases/decreases from the therapy?


    • Clint Nielsen says:

      Slightly bad-ass and ever so slightly ’embarrassing’ to those who know not what it ‘came’ from :)
      It relieved some pain, and played no affect on strength at all.
      (base strength remained the same – injured + cupping vs non injured).

  • Robert says:

    Love the Hollywood sequel joke. If it’s not Die Hard 53, then they are remaking a classic film and butchering the original in the process.

    Personally, I’ve never done the fire cup therapy, because like you, it seems like a total gimmick. For me, it’s one of those “do once in your life so you say you’ve done it” kind of things.

  • I do practice cupping (just did it last week), and I must say that id does work for a lot of disease. However, there is a right way to do this. I just looked at the picture above, and my first reaction was: Why did this guy add so many cups at the same time??

    Not really the way to do it if you ask me… I don’t know who did this for you, but although cupping really works, you want to do it right.

    Plus you need at least two days. I mean don’t go and weight lift the day after cupping.

    If I was you, I’d learn more about it before giving my back to someone.

    My thoughts.
    Franck Silvestre
    Web Traffic and List Building Coach

    • Clint Nielsen says:

      I didn’t say it didn’t work – rather that it was more effective the first time.
      Yes I probably trained too close to the therapy the second time around which may have negated some of the treatment.
      It’s only bruising. No scars remain :)

  • A little known secret: It’s better to practice cupping during lunar month on the 17, 19 and 21 (this has to see with the moon. During these days, see levels change, as well as your blood circulation). The man from who I learned cupping (A herborist Syrian doctor) use to do it just before sunrise in the morning (again, this time affect blood circulation).

    Plus this is a long term therapy, not a one time hit. You need to practice it once a month.

    Last thing (got some projects to complete), it’s like weight lifting…you don’t want to work your legs, your back, and your trunk all at the same time. As for cupping, some parts shouldn’t be treated together.

    It is also good to improve memory and concentration when done in the back of your head (excuse my French!).

    Take care.

    Former Body Guard

  • Jonz says:

    Tried this about 1 1/2 weeks back. The bruises are almost fading off now. However, I don’t feel much of a relieve actually from it. Would just prefer some deep tissue massage.

  • Mgomez516 says:

    Does the marks go away?

  • cristy says:

    I was 6 months pregnant and in a rear ended car accident. My chiropractor tried the cups on my back for the bruising, and from memory there were about 6. I had a few treatments over the next couple of months and found them very effective. They were used to get rid of the internal bruising. But that baby is now 18 so memory could be a little flawed. I would try them again if in my small country town I saw them advertised.

  • worked for me brother. i bought a set and do it myself. no prob. the suction kind. try on stomach too.

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