Chinese Cupping

Fire cupping

Fire cupping

The art of cupping in an ancient one. The technique has been used by healers from cultures as diverse as Africa, Europe and of course Asia.

The Ebers Papyrus, one of the oldest medical textbooks in the world, describes the systematic use of cupping by the early Egyptians, as far back as 1,550 B.C. The famous Taoist alchemist and herbalist, Ge Hong (281-341 A.D.), described this method in his book A Handbook of Prescriptions for Emergencies. The cups were actually animal horns, used for draining pustules.

Cupping is about using suction to pull toxin build-up and muscle spasm from the body’s deeper tissues up to the surface of the skin where the situation can be rectified. Our cells use oxygen and give off carbon dioxide, when our energy is blocked for whatever reason (trauma, lifestyle etc.) the resulting stagnation will cause dis-ease and pain.

Generally, the cup is left in place for about 10 minutes (typical range is 5-15 minutes). The skin becomes reddened due to the congestion of blood flow. The cup is removed by pressing the skin alongside it to allow some outside air to leak into it, thus equalizing the pressure and releasing it. Some bruising along the site of the rim of the cup is expected.

There is a very old adage in Chinese Medicine that states, “where there is movement there is life, where there is stagnation there is death.” Cupping at its core is a stagnation removing therapy. Those “knots” in the shoulder/neck region for example have to do with stagnant blood in Chinese Medical physiology. When cupping is applied to an area a couple of important things take place simultaneously.

First, cupping will tell us exactly where the problem is. We know this to be true because the skin under the cup in a problem area will discolor much like a bruise (it is not however a bruise) and in an area that is not as stagnant/painful will not color nearly as much.

Second, it will tell us the nature of the problem. A muscle issue will color much more intensely. A bone or nerve problem will not look even remotely similar after therapy is applied.

Third, cupping will shed light on the degree of severity. A modest issue in the tissue will look a slight shade of pink or red and will disappear in a day or two while a severe blockage in the blood flow of the body will turn a deep scarlet or even black and will take a week or two to rejoin the general circulation of the body. The information gathered during a cupping session is both helpful in treating the patient and in making the proper diagnosis.

Cupping is an extraordinary technique and its effects are immediate. It is possible to take weeks or even months off the treatment duration through cupping. It touches the body at deep level and is a treatment that has been revered for centuries. Today, cupping is mainly recommended for the treatment of pain, gastro-intestinal disorders, lung diseases (especially chronic cough and asthma), and paralysis, though it can be used for other disorders as well. The areas of the body that are fleshy are preferred sites for cupping.

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    "After 1.5 years of trying to conceive, I had been diagnosed with unexplained secondary infertility. All of my blood work (as well as my husbands) came back normal, but we still failed to get pregnant. We were thrilled to eventually conceive only to suffer a miscarriage a month later. This was devastating. After hearing from a friend about her success with acupuncture, I made an appointment with Drew. I will admit to being a bit skeptic at first. I thought, "how could needles and drinking tea be effective?" I had the consultation and based on all of my information Drew recommended a custom blended herbal tea and acupuncture sessions. I drank the tea and went to my acupuncture appointments consistently. On the 3rd month I was pregnant. Experience trumps skepticism and I'm now a firm believer in the benefits of Traditional Chinese Medicine. I credit Drew for helping us to conceive our little girl. If anyone is on the fence about trying this for fertility or any health issues, I highly recommend visiting Drew. I feel that we are lucky to have someone in our community who is one of the best in his field." T.B.

    "I was told by my G.I. doctor that I would be dead in less than a year (without a transplant) from cirrhosis compounded by hepatitis.... that was five years ago! Doc Drew gave me hope and the herbs that seem to keep my liver happy. Chinese medicine not only works well, it makes a great deal of sense." F. J.

    "I am a nurse and I am astounded. After a Lymphoma diagnosis, I decided to not do chemo/radiation and look to Chinese Medicine. After six months of herbs and acupuncture my IgM number dropped 500 pts... after six more months it has dropped another 700 pts... This is fantastic stuff!" M.J.

    "I was in and out of the hospital with Ulcerative Colitis and had lost tremendous weight. I am now back in the dojo, fit, and strong and able to continue my education. God bless this acupuncture." A.V.

    "I am an 88 yr. old woman and have been dealt more than my share of back pain. I have done chiropractic and massage for decades. I tell you, I love this kid. I will always have pain but I have less than ever before and consider him my grandson." M.B.

    We can't thank Drew and Tortoise Clinic enough. We came for secondary infertility after husband was diagnosed with low sperm count and I with low ovarian reserve, luteal phase defect and possible endometriosis. Being in the military with constant deployments definitely made a bad situation worse. I had heard great things but didn't know if acupuncture could really work for us.

    In our first consultation Drew said that he thought I would be pregnant in 3 to 6 months of treatment. Exactly 3 months later I was pregnant with our beautiful daughter after acupuncture and herbals and he had my husband drink a special tea which raised his sperm count to great levels. Our Dr couldn't believe it when she saw his results after he had been on the tea!

    I definitely believe that we found Dr Drew Smith and the Tortoise Clinic for a reason! We started going back again and I am now pregnant with baby number 3! Anyone having infertility issues should come here first despite what traditional drs. tell you, you may realize you don't need invasive treatments after all! Thank you Drew, Yoshi, and Michelle for all your instrumental help in growing our family! "Jill"

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tortoise clinic best ofThanks to all of our patients and loyal followers, we have once again (6th year) won the coveted Best of the Emerald Coast. Every patient at Tortoise Clinic receives not only their specific acupuncture but also dietary advice based on 3,500-year-old Chinese dietetics, as well as hot and cold therapy. The clinic also makes its own pain relief liniment based on a 600-year-old formula.