A woman who used cupping therapy to treat her injured shoulder fell asleep and woke up with large, painful blisters.
The unnamed woman, from California, tried the alternative method of pain relief in her own home using a hand-held pump.
But she fell asleep for half an hour, resulting in the uncomfortable blisters to form in a circle on her shoulder.
The collection of blisters formed in a circle under the area where the cup was applied
Cupping comes from ancient Chinese medicine, and involves putting cups, sometimes hot, on the skin to create a vacuum.
Some believe it helps with pain relief by increasing blood flow to the area, with celebrities such as Gwyneth Paltrow and Anthony Joshua having used it.
Despite common side effects including bruising, cupping therapy is generally believed to be safe if done by a therapist.
However, the unfortunate story of this woman in her 60s, told in a report in the journal JAMA Dermatology, reveals it can be quite dangerous.
The collection of blisters formed in a circle under the area where the cup was applied, doctors at the University of California, San Francisco, revealed.
IS CUPPING SAFE? MAN’S LUNG ‘DISSAPPEARS’ AFTER WIFE GIVES HIM A CUPPING SESSION AT HOME
Doctors in China were shocked to discover an elderly man’s lung had seemed to disappear in an X-ray scan.
The patient was apparently feeling unwell and had to be taken to the hospital after having cupping therapy.
Doctors later claimed that the patient’s right lung had collapsed and he had to undergo surgery.
According to Kan Kan News, the patient, Mr Wu, has had bronchitis for over 10 years.
It’s reported that his wife gave him a cupping session at home in Wuhan, Hubei Province on November 7.
He believed that the therapy could cure his cold.
However, he appeared pale after the session and had to be taken to the Wuhan Central Hospital.
Dr Xu Di, a specialist of cardiothoracic surgery, said 70 per cent of Mr Wu’s right lung had been compressed.
The suction, which the woman hoped would relieve her of her shoulder pain, damaged her skin, explained the team of doctors, led by Dr Maria Wei.
‘The vacuum was strong enough to split the skin, separating the normal two [top and bottom] layers of skin,’ the case report read.
The painful blisters were drained and the ‘blister roof was left to serve as a natural dressing’, before petroleum jelly was applied under a sterile dressing.
Cupping has proven popular among celebrities and athletes over the years.
Fans of this form of acupuncture including Geri Haliwell, Paris Hilton and Gwyneth Paltrow – who arrived at a New York premiere in 2004 showing off the tell-tale circular bruises, caused by small blood vessels bursting.
Interest in cupping soared when Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps appeared with the red circles all over his shoulder in the 4x100m freestyle relay in Rio de Janeiro, August 2016.
Recently, Strictly Come Dancing star Gorka Marquez, 28, shared his experiences of cupping, which he gets for neck and lower back injuries, on Instagram.
British heavyweight boxer Anthony Joshua also shared a clip of him receiving ‘fire cupping’ last year in preperation for a clinch fight with Wladimir Klitschko.
He was laden with suction cups which were lit in turn before being placed on his back and arms, creating the ‘healing’ vacuum on the skin.
A Californian woman in her 60s who used cupping therapy to for her injured shoulder fell asleep and woke up with large, painful blisters, a report in the journal JAMA Dermatology said
WHAT IS CUPPING?
Origin: The earliest evidence is a medical texbook from Egypt, 1550 BC.
Procedure: Usually run in conjunction with acupuncture, cupping involved creating suction through a vacuum on the skin.
Results: The practice is supposed to help blood flow, reduce inflammation and treat respiratory problems.
If properly performed with guidance, in as little as five minutes and no longer than 15 minutes, cupping therapy should not cause blisters, Dr Wei told Live Science.
But in this case, the device was left unsupervised, causing ‘too strong of a vacuum’ and damaging the skin.
Dr Wei said: ‘This case illustrates the need for supervision while performing cupping with a mechanical device [such as a pump]. If properly monitored, it shouldn’t be a problem.’
Although many people say they’ve experienced benefits from the therapy, there is little scientific evidence to back its use.
Critics have said the method is nothing other than a celebrity fad, and that it works for no reason other than the placebo effect.