Cupping as Supportive Therapy within Conventional Western Medicine

Cupping as Supportive Therapy within Conventional Western Medicine

One person may proceed by anatomical examination of morbidities, another
by clinical observation of processes, the third by pathological and the fourth
by therapeutic experimentation, one by chemical or physical and yet another
by historical research. Yet science is large enough to encompass all
these directions as long as they do not want to be exclusive, overstep their
boundaries, or pretend to achieve everything. Exaggerated promises have
always done harm, exaggerated claims have always caused injuries, and
self-aggrandizement has always offended others or ridiculed itself.

Rudolf Virchow

Integrating Conventional Western Medicine and Naturopathic Healing Methods

The intention of this chapter is to encourage representatives of clinical medicine to apply cupping without prejudice, if it leads to recovery from or even only improvement of diseases or complaints. For this purpose, I first want to give a short summary of my own thoughts and experiences, also taking into consideration the experiences of other authors from ancient and modern times.

The issue of compatibility between conventional Western and naturopathic medicine is raised again and again in modern science because the reasoning of scientific medicine, molded as it is by chemistry and technology, differs substantially from the thinking of experiential medicine. This is, however, very surprising since experiential medicine is the original source of science-based conventional medicine.

The goal of any therapy is the complete restoration of health. In this light, it should be fundamentally irrelevant whether this goal is achieved by means of conventional or naturopathic medicine. Nevertheless, people argue over and over about which therapeutic method is more correct, “true,” or truly rational.

Conventional medicine is frequently based on the premise that only those treatment methods are correct whose efficacy can be proven with technical measuring tools or statistics. Since the way in which a large variety of therapies function cannot be proven or measured directly, these are often dismissed as belonging to “outsider medicine” and their effect is referred to as placebo or superstition. In this way, many valuable naturopathic methods continue to be rejected or derided to this day because they supposedly stem from “lay circles.”

It is hereby forgotten, though, that all widely known measures recognized by conventional medicine, such as massage and dietary or physical treatment methods, have their origin not in the universities, but in experience and in the popularly transmitted art of healing. In our times, they have merely been refined and put on strict medical foundations. They now serve as proven treatment methods to supplement modern medicine effectively and sensibly and can even replace it in many cases.

Naturopathic medicine almost exclusively utilizes therapeutic principles that were by no means unknown in conventional Western medicine but, for whatever reasons, have been abandoned. It is only after therapies of conventional Western medicine fail to bring a cure or improvement that naturopathic measures are occasionally permitted.

A certain amount of reservation against dubious therapeutic methods and those that transcend its possibilities and limitations is an understandable, even necessary means of protection against excessive promises, which, in most cases, harm the patient seeking help. A wholesale rejection of naturopathic treatment methods, on the other hand, is unreasonable, unfounded, and most often rooted in an emotional aversion, in prejudices, or in a lack of knowledge and willingness to familiarize oneself properly with the other side of medicine. How else could anyone say “I think nothing of naturopathic methods” without ever having tried them! Naturopathic medicine can often deliver surprising results that cannot be explained in exact scientific terms. We should accept this and let the rules apply.

As we know, the human body is composed of individual parts like the trunk, extremities, head, organs, organ systems, and so on, but the holistic activity of body parts and systems only occurs on the basis of continuous, mutually dependent interrelationships underneath the connecting unity of the nervous system. No part of the human body, no organ or organ system functions on its own.

How are the Terms “Disease” and “Health” Defined within Both of These Disciplines?

Conventional medicine defines “disease” as “An interruption, cessation, or disorder of body functions, systems, or organs” (Stedman’s Medical Dictionary). Diseases are here categorized according to the repeated appearance of identical symptoms in different patients and summarized into a clinical picture that serves as the benchmark for therapy.

The term “health” is defined on the basis of measurable normal values in blood and urine examinations, body temperature, blood pressure, and so on.

In terms of therapeutic concepts, clinical medicine views and treats the patient less as a whole, as a unified system of constant mutually dependent interrelations. Rather, the goal of conventional Western therapy is the particular organ that manifests disturbances or pathological changes. It is for this reason that conventional Western medicine is strictly divided into specialized fields that carry out specifically targeted organ therapies. Every patient with the same or almost identical clinical picture receives the same organotropically directed medication, in spite of the fact that every one of these patients experiences their disease individually. Patients are hence turned into “cases” for certain diagnostic and medical measures. Unfortunately, the therapeutic methods of conventional Western medicine thereby quite frequently work against the natural reactions of the organism, that is, blocking and inhibiting the body’s power of resistance.

In naturopathic medicine, on the other hand, the terms “disease” and “health” address the whole person as a unit of complicated interrelationships. “Disease” is defined as the response of the organism’s biological defense systems to a prior exogenous or endogenous strain or injury and is—in contrast to the understanding in conventional medicine—regarded as a pathological event that affects the whole person. Naturopathic medicine understands “health” as freedom from various internal and external damages and well-being of the person. Naturopathic therapies accord with the natural reactions of the organism and are adjusted to the patient and his or her illness with utmost individuality.

By detoxification and elimination, as well as strengthening and rest, the biological self-healing mechanisms of the organism are exclusively supported and stimulated. Thereby they are enabled to control the pathological event with their own strength. The reason for this is that naturopathic practitioners try to treat with nature, not against it. At the same time, they do not treat the disease, but the patient.

Clinical medicine has so far aimed primarily at treating acute and life-threatening diseases. Many strong medications that are used today originated at a time when medicine had to fight against acute diseases. Nevertheless, it is very difficult to cure chronic-degenerative diseases, which occur increasingly frequently, with these methods. Different diseases require different treatment methods.

It is no secret that in spite of the impressive advances of medical science and technology, it is still not always possible to achieve a cure or improvement in many diseases. In such cases, clinical medicine only too frequently likes to turn to palliative remedies with anesthetic or sedative effects.

Some representatives of modern medicine consider therapies with strong effects as the only true treatments against all diseases and impatiently offer the extension of life as justification for these applications, in spite of the fact that everybody knows that it is precisely these treatment methods that frequently disturb the most important barrier against disease, namely the immune system. As a result, we see an increase in bacteria that are resistant to antibiotics and the return of earlier infectious diseases that were believed to have been defeated. In addition, chronic-degenerative diseases, malignant growths, allergic hypersensitivities, and intolerances are on the increase. This situation is further compounded by the effects of toxic pollution in the environment.

The continuous strain on the human body by the consumption of high dosages of chemical medications and additional exposure to environmental toxins poses unnatural demands on the organism that often exceed its capacity for adaptation. This is bound to lead to a weakening and ultimately blocked regulation of the immune system, because the human body also has limits in its ability to withstand stress.

Every doctor knows that the human immune system is the most effective weapon against diseases. Therefore, it is the task of any reasonable therapy not only to treat by fighting diseases with the conventional “canons,” but also to secure the preservation of the body’s necessary natural stimuli, which strengthen, not weaken, the totality of all vital functions.

It is an extremely positive development that more and more representatives of conventional Western medicine recognize the necessity to take into account the body’s own regulatory systems and turn to appropriate supportive therapies. A constantly growing number of successful therapeutic methods from naturopathic medicine are thereby again incorporated into conventional medicine.

I must stress emphatically at this point that naturopathic medicine cannot replace emergency medicine. Furthermore, nobody denies the valuable achievements in surgery, the successful control of infectious and of acute, life-threatening diseases, as well as the achievements of medical technology. On the contrary! These can and must not be replaced by the treatment methods of experiential medicine!

Similarly, I do not dispute that there are diseases in which no naturopathic measures are able to restore health: extensive atrophy of ß cells in the islets of Langerhans, for example, can often only be counterbalanced by compensatory treatment or substitution therapy.

In cases where no fully functional tissue is left in the hormonal glands, naturopathic methods cannot cause regeneration either. Nevertheless, in a case of vegetative dysregulation with sluggish functioning in the otherwise intact endocrine tissue, we can obtain better results with naturopathic methods than with substitution since the latter would only further encourage the sluggish glands in their “laziness.”

Why is Cupping Therapy Once Again Indicated in Modern Scientific Medicine at this Particular Time?

Thanks to practitioners of complementary medicine and some physicians, cupping has been preserved through all those years when naturopathic treatment methods were banned from the repertoire of conventional Western medicine. Today, its significance is growing and growing. This is so not only due to its unquestionable efficacy, but also because reputable scientific publications have, especially in the past decades, contributed to research on the cause of the phenomenon of this efficacy. These therapeutic methods can therefore now also be used by physicians who, up to now, have been exclusively science-oriented. Prerequisites are familiarity with the particularities of cupping and more time for treatment.

Cupping is a healing method that treats without the burden of medications and is absolutely harmless, if applied correctly and appropriately. This harmlessness of cupping therapy alone is already enough of a recommendation for its application.

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Aug 10, 2016 | Posted by in PHYSICAL MEDICINE & REHABILITATION | Comments Off on Cupping as Supportive Therapy within Conventional Western Medicine

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