A 64 year-old Polish man came to my clinic across from Richmond Hospital in B.C., Canada in March 2013 for back pain located between his shoulder blades. He described the pain as feeling sharp and fixed, “like being jabbed”.
His work is very physical and involves a lot of climbing stairs or ladders while carrying equipment over 5 kg. His tongue was darkish-purple with a white coat and his pulse was thick and choppy. His symptoms, tongue and pulse all indicate the Traditional Chinese Medicine syndrome known as blood stasis. Simply put, this means that blood flow has become stagnant, leading to pain in the area that has compromised blood circulation.
After one session of wet cupping specific points on his back, his pain was 100% relieved.
Four months later, he returned for treatment of pain occurring behind his right shoulder that prevented him from lifting objects at work above his head. Again, after one session of wet cupping that removed 80 mL of dark, clotted blood from the local area, his pain stopped and has not returned.
Another six months later (January 2014), he returned, this time due to pain in his knees. He had chronic on-off knee pain in both legs that he was told may be the onset of arthritis.
His right knee was further aggravated after a recent sprain at work that kept him off work for 2 weeks. It presented with hard swelling above the knee and significant pain upon palpation, or pain from standing too long, or walking down stairs. He had also developed a red rash below the injured knee.
In this treatment for his right knee pain, I wet cupped two locations above the knee that correspond with two acupoints, SP10 and ST34 – they are located on the Spleen and Stomach meridians and are used to strongly move blood and relieve acute leg pain, respectively.
The dark blood represents toxic, old blood – blood that is filled with dead red blood cells or toxic blood that has a lot of fibrin or acid in it.
Fibrin is a protein made by the body during the process of forming clots.
So if there is too much fibrin in the blood, this leads to thrombosis, or clotted vessels and tissues.
Just as soda pop froths and bubbles due to carbonation, it is believed that blood follows the same principle and will froth and bubble when there is excess carbon dioxide, uric acid, or inflammatory hormones in the blood.
After advising him on self-care and diet, including drinking minimum 2 litres of healthy warm fluids a day to improve his blood flow, including warm lemon-water, he returned in one week very happy to report that his pain was reduced by 50%. He was able to stand without pain and walk down stairs with tolerable discomfort. His rash was also noticeably 80% better.
He came better prepared for his second wet cupping treatment by having cleared the hair on his legs to allow for better suction of the cups. This gentleman wished to treat both knees, so again I wet cupped SP10 and ST34 on the right knee and SP10 on the left knee.
This time blood flowed much smoother and quicker, but still released very dark blood from both knees, and frothy from the right (below left and right images).
Approximately 10 mL was cupped from each location, totalling 30 mL of clotted jelly-like blood extracted from both knees.
He walked out of his treatment with complete ease feeling like he had “new knees”.
When this gentleman came for his third and final treatment for his knee pains, he reported 100% relief of pains, total ease in standing, walking, and climbing up and down stairs.
He plans to return in 6-8 months, or on an as-needed basis to continue health maintenance care.