Sunday, February 23, 2014

Cupping and Bloodletting


This painful procedure was performed during the Civil War on Sarah Morgan, a wealthy refugee from Baton Rouge after a wagon accident left her unable to walk. She described the experience in her journal, which has recently been published as “The Civil War Diary of a Southern Woman,” as follows:

“I was interrupted yesterday morning by Mrs Badger who wished to apply a few dry cups to my back, to which I quietly submitted, and was unable to move afterwards with[out] pain, as a reward for my patience.”

When the doctor visited her later, she wrote of the pain she experienced, the large amount of blood lost and the reactions of her sister and friends during another cupping procedure. "two dozen shining, cutting teeth were buried in my flesh....Then came the great cups over the cuts that I thought loosened the roots of my teeth with their tremendous suction power, and which I dare say pulled my hair in at least a foot."

By the end of the Civil War, cupping was no longer such an accepted practice in the medical community.  However, it was recently brought to my attention that cupping has become somewhat fashionable recently. Celebrities are touting the health benefits of cupping, and are happily displaying the marks left from these treatments.

It appears that the celebrities don’t have quite the same experience with cupping as poor Sarah Morgan.  However, I strongly suspect that the health “benefits” gained are the same in both cases!


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