I remember my boyfriend coming back after a trip to China and being shocked because I saw perfectly round bruises covering his back. I was so confused by how it had happened but also felt intrigued.
He explained to me that it was a common practice at massage shops in China. It’s called cupping therapy. Basically what happens is that the massage therapist takes bamboo or glass cups to place on your back, lights a fire under the cup to suck out the oxygen and then suctions the cup to your back. They then leave the cups on your back for about 5 to 10 minutes.
I’ve read that there are other types of cupping therapy, but this style seems to be the most common in China. Cupping therapy is believed to help improve your blood flow, relieve pain and help cure respiratory problems like commons colds or bronchitis. Basically, it is thought to pull the toxins out of your body.
Of course I had to try it! It was a little bit painful but not enough that it should deter you from trying it at least once. I didn’t feel too bothered by the heat but got a bit nervous when it came time for my massage therapist to pull them off. There was a small stinging pain when she pulled them off, more painful in some spots than others. It went away quite quickly though.
I honestly can’t say if cupping therapy did anything for me. Nothing bad came from it though, and it was a fun experience. And, although they might look it, the dark circles didn’t actually hurt.
I was mostly disappointed that I couldn’t go get a cold, delicious bubble tea afterwards since they recommended not putting any cold liquids in my body until the next day.
I’ll definitely give it another try during winter or if I get a cold. It was still pretty warm outside when I got it done (a little over a month ago) so maybe the effects could be different if I had more of a reason to get it done other than “That’s cool! I want to try the thing that gives me dark circles all over my back.”
(He let me take a picture since I am definitely not exposing this much skin and posting it. Haha)