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Wednesday, August 06, 2014

Mets Latch On to Cupping Therapy, and Have the Marks to Prove It

The millennia-old art of cupping traditionally involves using a flame to create a vacuum inside a glass bulb, which is then applied to the skin for as long as 15 minutes. Blood is pulled to the area, causing bruising and, ostensibly, relief of tight, sore muscles. Some believe that cupping can also help with arthritis, eczema and migraine headaches, among other ailments.

Today, teams like the Mets and others that practice cupping use a mechanical suction pump to create the vacuum. Nick Paparesta, the trainer for the Oakland Athletics, said in an interview that virtually the entire A’s roster has undergone cupping therapy at some point this season. Paparesta called it a “twofold solution” because it can provide both immediate and long-term relief of lower back or oblique tightness, and can be done post-surgery to help reduce scarring….

Medical studies, however, don’t back up these claims, according to a doctor who has researched alternative treatments.

“There’s absolutely zero evidence that cupping has any kind of positive role in medicine,” said Barrie Cassileth, the chief of integrative medicine service at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York. She said the post-cupping bruises result simply from the suction on the skin, which may be more harmful to circulation than helpful.

“I cannot conceive of any benefit except a psychological benefit,” said Cassileth, who has written books on alternative treatments and noted that, unlike cupping, holistic therapies such as acupuncture have been proved effective in medical tests….

Though [players] insist that cupping does have a physical effect, they also recognize the mental aspect. [Vic] Black, one of the [Mets’] most ardent supporters of the treatment, said, “The placebo effect is a lot more powerful than people realize.”

That’s why multiple players said that even if a doctor told them definitively that cupping has no benefit, they would continue doing it anyway.

“There’s more belief in it, and that’s why I feel comfortable doing it,” Black said. “That’s why everything works.”

Whatever the upside, physical or mental, it’s all part of athletes’ unending quest to stay fit. They will try almost anything, especially if it comes recommended from one of their peers.

Said [Matt] Harvey, “If I went in and did it and just saw a bunch of circles on my back and it didn’t actually feel better after I did it, then I wouldn’t do it.”

The District Attorney Posted: August 06, 2014 at 10:21 AM | 15 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: athletics, injuries, mets

Reader Comments and Retorts

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   1. The Anthony Kennedy of BBTF (Scott) Posted: August 06, 2014 at 11:23 AM (#4765475)
Just seeing that youtube link has gotten that song stuck in my head. Thanks.
   2. Belfry Bob Posted: August 06, 2014 at 11:54 AM (#4765509)
Theodoric of York, Medieval Barber, was using this technique centuries ago. Nothing new here.
   3. Best Regards, President of Comfort, Esq. Posted: August 06, 2014 at 12:34 PM (#4765551)
Matt Harvey is out for another season after his bloodletting went too far.
   4. Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: August 06, 2014 at 12:48 PM (#4765558)
Meh. The Mets were undergoing Leach Therapy a third of a century ago.
   5. Shooty is obsessed with the latest hoodie Posted: August 06, 2014 at 12:52 PM (#4765559)
They will try almost anything, especially if it comes recommended from one of their peers.

Oh boy. We know!
   6. formerly dp Posted: August 06, 2014 at 01:00 PM (#4765567)
Had to one up good ol' Piss Hands Alou.
   7. bread and rice Posted: August 06, 2014 at 01:07 PM (#4765576)
What's next, ear candling?
   8. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: August 06, 2014 at 01:18 PM (#4765589)
Are they taking advice from Dr. Jaerock Lee again?
   9. Nasty Nate Posted: August 06, 2014 at 01:42 PM (#4765620)
What's next, ear candling?

   10. Shooty is obsessed with the latest hoodie Posted: August 06, 2014 at 01:45 PM (#4765625)
They'll never win anything with Mr. Met around. He's given three phrenologists the brain fever!
   11. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: August 06, 2014 at 02:22 PM (#4765652)
After reading the headline, I'm so, so glad this isn't a sex thing.
   12. villageidiom Posted: August 06, 2014 at 02:26 PM (#4765657)
Matt Harvey is out for another season after his bloodletting went too far.

When he's gone
When he's gone
You're gonna miss him when he's gone
You're gonna miss him by his stare
Or you'll miss his labrum tear
Oh, you're gonna miss him when he's gone
   13. Walks Clog Up the Bases Posted: August 06, 2014 at 02:45 PM (#4765673)
I've actually had this done. It doesn't always leave marks; feels like someone dragging a knuckle across the muscle. I prefer it to the garden variety massage.
   14. billyshears Posted: August 06, 2014 at 03:02 PM (#4765692)
I very much enjoyed Pitch Perfect.
   15. RMc is Fairly Irrefutable Posted: August 07, 2014 at 08:08 AM (#4766134)
One word: Trepanning.

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