'Cupping' therapy used to treat pain; stress


by Scott Pasmore

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Posted on April 15, 2013 at 11:26 AM

Updated Monday, Apr 15 at 11:40 AM

PHOENIX --  Many celebrities are known for trying unusual medical techniques to treat conditions including stress, weight gain, chronic pain and the common cold.

Actors David Arquette and Gwyneth Paltrow swear by one therapy called "cupping," an Oriental medicine method in which a partial vacuum is created in cups placed on the skin either by means of heat or suction.

"One of the great things about cupping is that it has a detoxifying effect on the body," says acupuncturist and Oriental medicine expert Doctor Ed Lamadrid. "It basically pulls impurities out."

Cupping uses small glass cups and matches. The technique is traditionally called "fire-cupping." 

"What happens is I take a lighted instrument, remove all the oxygen from the cup, place the cup on the skin, and then there's a suction effect," Dr. Lamadrid explained to Scott Pasmore on Monday's Good Morning Arizona. "The cups are kept on for 20 to 30 minutes."

Experts believe cupping can treat colds, coughs, even hangovers. The technique does leave round marks on the skin that last for several days.

Another tool celebrities seem to use quite a bit is acupuncture. For example, Kobe Bryant uses acupuncture to reduce inflammation and energize his legs.  Penelope Cruz, Kim Kardashian, Matt Damon and Robert Downey, Jr., are all known for practicing acupuncture for stress relief.

There are plenty of other ways to reduce stress, however. Exercise is a good way to start. "Exercise is always a great go-to," says Dr. Lamadrid. "Whether it's high impact aerobics, or even something more gentle like tai chi or yoga, it's also great."

Supplementation can also be important. Try to add fish oils and B-complex to your diet. You can sip tea to relax you, listen to music, or even try aromatherapy or meditation.