Nutrition and Healing
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  • Beat back inflammation to breathe easy

    You can’t breathe, though you’re trying. Your chest is in spasm… and you’re coughing up a lung.

    The number of people suffering from asthma is going through the roof — and it’s not just children. Plenty of adults are still struggling with it in their later years… or even dealing with it for the first time.

    One of the most remarkable treatments that I’ve seen to improve asthma symptoms is the ancient practice of cupping, though many mainstream and even alternative doctors have been slow to embrace it.

    But Hippocrates used cupping and wrote about it CENTURIES ago. And a thousand years ago, the Persian physician Avicenna described a technique for using cupping to disperse inflammation in the body (which explains its efficacy as a curative measure for asthma, considering its connection to inflammation).

    Still, millions of people swear by cupping for relieving inflammation (as well as pain). And I’ve seen it work first-hand.

    I once had a patient in her upper 80s who had severe asthma. Because she also had heart disease, asthma medications would be dangerous for her to take.

    So, I started performing cupping on her back, every two weeks. She told me this was actually a familiar therapy, as her “Nonnie” (she was of Italian ancestry) used cups on family members when they were ill or injured.

    In fact, for many folks (including myself), cupping is a family affair.

    When my grandparents came to America from Eastern Europe, they didn’t bring much with them. But one thing they did bring was my grandmother’s cupping set, which they called “bankes” (and which, I’m happy to say, I still have in my office).

    I remember my grandfather telling me that, when someone was sick, they would put the cups on the skin over the lungs. The area where the infection was occurring would turn a purple color.

    So, they were using cupping both diagnostically and therapeutically — which is really quite amazing!

    My elderly asthmatic patient ending up living another seven years, continuing to receive biweekly cupping with no further need for asthma medications.

    Since then, I’ve also used this simple treatment preventatively on a number of other patients.

    Cupping is actually the name given to a variety of techniques, all of which involve round glass or plastic “cups” put on the body in such a way as to cause suction.

    These days I use “dry cupping” only, but there’s also “fire cupping” and “wet cupping.”

    All of the techniques are taught at modern acupuncture schools, so many acupuncture clinics will offer it. That also means that it’s often used in conjunction with needle-based acupuncture.

    You may also find it offered by certain massage therapists.

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