Tuesday, 12 May 2009

TREATMENT REVIEW: Cupping


TREATMENT REVIEW
SHIVAGO THAI CLINIC
Cupping

GWYNETH PALTROW CAUSED QUITE THE MEDIA STIR WHEN SHE APPEARED ON THE RED CARPET WITH MYSTERIOUS CIRCULAR BRUISES ON HER BACK. LAST YEAR, CHINESE OLYMPIC SWIMMERS REVEALED TO THE WORLD SIMILAR SPOTS, AND THAT THEY TOO PRESCRIBE TO THIS ANCIENT FORM OF EASTERN THERAPY: CUPPING.

This was the extent of my knowledge on cupping when I walked into the Shivago Thai Clinic three days ago. A warmest welcome was reassuring as the staff explained this tradition they're obviously passionate about. Although the therapy originates in China, their method is one that Thailand has adapted which can combine other therapies alongside it including herbal compresses. I'm told that farther east, cupping is practised as frequently as haircuts, and that swallowing painkillers would never be considered in the place of this alternative therapy.

So what is it? Cupping involves heating glass cups with a flame which, once on the skin, creates a vacuum. (Plastic cups are used as well) The blood underneath rushes to this concentrated spot, and the more stagnant the blood, the redder the skin will get. Why do this to yourself? Mainly to relieve pain, which can build when your energy, blood and fluids stagnate and block circulation. Cupping works to remove blood and energy stagnation Although I'm wary of fire, my trustworthy therapist, Kei Ngu, put my worries at ease, literally. My skin went red instantly, which means I'm stagnant as well as, I am told, that I am full of worry. (Correct!) Careful not to leave the cups on for too long as per my redness, Kei also used the actual cup to massage. He then moved the heated cup across my back and demonstrated 'flash cupping,' a juggling act of quickly lighting the cups, applying, removing, repeat, with the swiftness.

It's a bewildering experience and an effective one. I'm at ease, especially when handed a cup of herbal tea and urged to relax some more. To add to the unique experience, Kei sends me away with a batch of herbs I watch him handpick out of many different jars so that I would continue my treatment at home, in an herbal bath.My next treatment is in three weeks, on my birthday, if that's any indication of the worthwhile time to be had at Shivago Thai Clinic.

Prices start at £15 for 15 minutes.

Shivago Thai Clinic Buddafield 25 Blackfriars Street Edinburgh EH1 1NB 07878 256 174 info@shivagothaiclinic.com
Also in Bite Life section of the June 2009 issue of Bite magazine

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