My back is getting much better. I have been undergoing treatment once a week for several weeks now. Some days I wake up with some stiffness in my neck but it generally dissipates throughout the day. With my back feeling so much better it makes me want to get back to training. My doctor has advised me to not resume training until my back is fully healed so that I do not reverse the progress we have made so far. This week instead of having patches applied the doctor used a technique called cupping.
Cupping is a part of Traditional Chinese Medicine in which the air from a globe is removed creating a vacuum inside the globe that is placed on the skin. Before the modern age this was most often done with fire. Fire was used to use up all of the oxygen in the globe to create a vacuum seal. My doctor used more modern globes that utilize a pump that attaches to the top of the globe to remove the air from the globe without the use of fire. The vacuum that is created helps pull toxins out of the body and up to the surface of the skin. Sometimes blood will even come out through the pores. Cupping can be used to treat colds, pneumonia and bronchitis as well as neck, shoulder, and back pain. In cases of back pain cupping is used to create pressure on points that are very deep in the body that are difficult to reach with normal massage methods. Cupping leaves highly identifiable marks on the skin. The blood is pulled to the surface just underneath the skin leaving a deep red ring. Some areas have very deep coloring while others may have little coloring at all. The markings are very similar to bruises but generally are not painful to the touch. This practice is used in the medical practice of several other Asian countries as well as some Islamic cultures.
It was a very interesting experience. I was not sure what to expect at first. The sensation of the vacuum pulling the skin up into the globe was odd at first. Some of the cups did not really hurt but just felt odd as if someone was pulling the skin up away from my body. In other places though the pain was very intense. The globes were only left on for a couple of minutes. When the pressure was released I had the red marks that are a telltale sign of cupping. It will be interesting to see how long the red marks will be visible. My back does feel better after the treatment especially the areas that had tough knots in very deep tissue in the muscles of my back. I hope that with this technique my recovery will be hastened.