Many people have pain and seek medical treatment to manage it. But with the acceptance of Western medicine, many people are going to an acupuncture doctor opting for natural solutions for reducing inflammation and feeling better.
But although there is research-backed information on the powers of those small needles used in acupuncture, an alternate procedure called cupping may not cause anything but a bruise.
Celebrities like Gwyneth Paltrow, Victoria Beckham and Jennifer Aniston have shown up in public appearances with the circle bruises on their shoulders and backs. These circles are from a treatment born in ancient Eastern medicine which involves small glass jars that are placed on the skin (often your back) to create suction.
“Think of it like a big hickey—it breaks flood vessels underneath the skin to leave a bruise”, explains Dr. Vreeman, an Associate Professor of Pediatrics at the Indiana University School of Medicine. “The practice is said to stimulate blood flow and tap into your lymph system to help remove toxins. However, blood vessels and your lymph system aren't actually connected in this way.”
Translation: it won't remove toxins.
"Though some studies show cupping may have some effect, the science isn't good and the trials are at a high risk of bias. We need more research," says Dr. Vreeman.