This Is Why You Should Never Trust Alternative Medicine

Alternative medicine can and will most likely always be a controversial topic, as people tend to have strong opinions about it’s effectiveness on both sides. Regardless of your personal view, however, I think there is one thing we can all agree on. A lot of what passes as “medicine” in this category is quite odd.

Take the alternative medicine practice of cupping therapy, for example.

Fire cupping is an ancient form of therapy that is believed to promote healing and improve blood flow.


Cupping is a process that involves a fuel-soaked cotton ball being lit on fire. In one fluid motion, the flame is placed inside the glass cup and the cup is then placed on the skin. By removing the oxygen from the cup, it creates a tight seal (which is what often leaves bruising).


After having treatment, the cups can leave behind some gruesome bruises which last a few weeks. For those who believe that cupping is providing them a benefit, it’s a small price to pay.

Due to the damage which cupping can cause to the skin, it’s recommended that sessions are spaced out. If you don’t heed that advice… bad things can happen.

A man from Sichuan, China learned this lesson the hard way. Below is a photo of his back taken at the hospital after the 63-year-old underwent daily sessions of cupping for an entire month.

Source: Weibo
Source: Weibo

According to the man, people at the shop where he had the cupping treatments said that the only way for him to cure his high cholesterol and other small ailments was to continue treatment for a full month.


By the 10th day of treatment, the cupped areas began blistering, but that wasn’t enough to stop him. The man simply broke the blisters, washed them with salt water, and returned for more treatment.

It wasn’t until near the end of his treatment that he collapsed while walking home. It turns out that the blisters had gotten infected and the infection became so severe that he needed to go to the hospital. Had he waited any longer, he would have died from blood poisoning.

(via Shanghaiist)

Regardless of whether or not you believe in the healing power of cupping or not, make sure you never consent to having daily treatments for a month. It’s just a ridiculous idea. I’d say that once every few weeks seems like plenty to me.


I’m a writer based out of East Village, Manhattan. I work from my condo and local coffee shops (and a few restaurants with menus that are more unhealthy than licking a subway railing), meeting friends who have boats or boat access, touring the zoo for the zoo to visit my ex-boyfriends, and forcing my political beliefs on others at social events (kidding, don’t be one of those people.