There was a very famous American doctor of Chinese Medicine who recently retired but before he did so, he had begun to use his Facebook page as a discussion forum for new research into Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine. When he retired, this was discontinued so I thought it might be useful to have something similar here. Since the Advertising Standards Agency in the UK places severe limits on what can published about Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine, it leaves very little one could write a blog about with infringing the rules; however,  trying to elucidate research is not the same as making claims of efficacy, so I will try this for a while and see if anyone finds it informative.



Jennifer Aniston cupping therapy

Although it is not really a research topic, those photos of the actress Jennifer Aniston with cupping marks on her back might be a useful place to start since it has been quite a prominent news story. Here is an example:

The first point to make is that cupping marks don’t usually look like this. It looks like she has used concealer on the marks. They are usually red or purple, and look a bit like bruises and it is necessary to warn patients of this especially in the summer months because wearing for example a halter-neck dress, the marks will be visible and some patients may consider them cosmetically unacceptable. The second point to make is that cupping is an unorthodox treatment approach for infertility, which raises doubts about the veracity of the story. She has obviously had cupping treatment, and it is possible that it was done to encourage fertility but it is also highly likely that it was done for back pain for example, which is what cupping on the upper back is more commonly used for.

The, ‘expert’ has made the following comment:

She added to the publication: ‘The basic idea of cupping is to drag toxins out of the body and to bring fresh blood flow, which eases congestion, boosts circulation and reduces stress and tension.

‘So it’s brilliant for treating infertility – in particular unexplained fertility.

The second statement we have already dealt with and it is not very accurate. I’m afraid that the first statement is also nonsense, because the concept of ‘toxins’ does not exist in Chinese Medicine, at least not in the sense that it is being used here. I think the concept of ‘toxins’ is borrowed from naturopathy or some other ‘alternative’ therapy. If anybody describes a Chinese Medicine intervention to you in terms of ‘toxins’, it is usually a very reliable sign that they don’t know what they are talking about. Also, be very sceptical when someone is described in a newspaper article as an ‘expert’. It really doesn’t mean anything, as anybody can describe themselves this way, and many people who do so are not very competent.

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