Popping the Fire Cupping Cherry

Last night, I experienced the traditional Chinese acupressure procedure of “ba huo guan”. It is an extremely interesting process that involves placing fire into glass cups and then suctioning the cups onto the skin. This creates a vacuum that relieves “stagnation” and serves as a therapy to treat colds, pneumonia, back and shoulder pain and similar ailments. It speeds up the flow of Qi and blood throughout the meridians of the body.

For a whopping 15 RMB ($2.38) each, K & I took turns getting oiled down. I went first, and looked on as our therapist lit up the fire in the glass. Kaboosh! The first suction cup made contact with my left shoulder. I felt a hot sensation immediately followed by tightness around the area. No screaming or getting burned by fire yet.  Within the next 5 minutes, her deft fingers moved quickly as my back became a dinosaur hide filled with glass bulbs. Since I was a fire-cupping virgin, she (thankfully) did not “zou guan”, rub the fiery glass bulb up and down my skin, on me. K was not so lucky when his turn came. After about 10 minutes of lying there with glass bulbs all over my back, she started the removal process. Some bulbs left darker marks than others, and some were more black than red. According to her, black means that I have an excess of toxins in that area, while red means that I have excess moisture. It looks like I will be a sporting a very attractive back for the next week or so.

After I returned to Hong Kong today, I got quite a few stares from non-Hong Kongers on the MTR. I bet they thought I got beat up or something.

K the purple spotted dinosaur!




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