Simplify and breathe…eliminate aches and pains”
She was doing a fine job with the alternating long and short strokes on my tightly knotted back. The pressure was the way I liked it – strong. But, apparently, for her, the strokes weren’t enough; she couldn’t knead the knots away and seemed to have spotted a problem. I think I heard her say “air inside” while looking at my back. Without as much as a preamble she slipped out of the room and returned after a few minutes. Then I felt the most agonizing pain rip through my back as she moved what seemed like a glass cup up and down my back. After flailing my arms, she got the hint and stopped – the moving of the cup that is. She then began sticking little cups on my back, leaving them there for about 15 minutes. When I got home I was horrified to see patches of crimson red circles dotting my back. The red circles didn’t hurt; they just looked uncanny, as if I got into fight with someone who decided to draw red circles on my back.
That was my first encounter with cupping therapy at a reflexology place at Peninsula Plaza in Singapore a few years ago. A few more sessions and I felt good – I wasn’t feeling enervated and heavy. The therapist couldn’t explain clearly what she did because she didn’t know English and it was absolutely zero for me in Mandarin. Reading up on cupping therapy helped solve that problem.
Cupping therapy, wrote George Jhon, is a form of pain therapy originating from China 3,500 years ago. Its basic idea is latched on to the concept of the human body having meridians, or energy pathways, connected to all tissues and organs where the chi (energy) travels. Now, if these meridians are clogged or blocked, an imbalance results making a person more susceptible to illnesses or suffering from all kinds of aches and pains. This blockage, which is the result of toxin build-up, is eliminated through cupping.
The author of Back on Your Feet, A Natural Health Clinic, pointed out that the suction of the cups helps to draw out the toxins, which, in turn, creates clearer energy pathways that make it easier for the chi, blood and oxygen to circulate through the organs and tissues, and for the smooth working of the lymphatic system (this system is responsible, among other things, for carrying vital things to the lymph nodes to boost the immune system). Of all the body parts, the back is the nest of meridians – it has five meridian points, which are five.
Cupping can be carried out in two ways. One is stationary in which the cups are “glued” for several minutes on parts of the back that the therapist sees as blocked. The second one is the moving or flashing method where the cups are moved up and down or in circulation motions. I prefer, in all honestly, the first method. It’s still a bit painful, as you feel as if a horde of furious people are having the time of their life pinching your back. But the “pinching pain” disappears once you regulate your breathing and let your mind wander.
Cupping therapy reduces backaches and fatigue; enhances the flow of chi, blood and oxygen; strengthens immune system; and balances hormones. Jhon adds that cupping also helps in problems such as ovulation, constipation, skin, and in the battle with the bulge.
It took a while for me to find a place that offered cupping therapy in Indonesia but, as luck would have it, I stumbled upon one in Vesia Salon. They call it bekam kering and I’ve had my second session of it after my foot reflexology. The verdict: I’m energized, calm and keeping the flu bug at bay.
Taman Buaran Indah II Blok B No. 15 Klender
Cost: Rp25, 000 for 15 minutes