One 63-year-old man from Chengdu, China learned the painful way that Chinese cupping therapy administered by a greedy store clerk could have killed him.
In May, the man, who was reportedly suffering from high cholesterol and soreness in his neck, visited a massage parlor for a one hour cupping therapy session. According to ETtoday, the clerk at the parlor recommended that he attend not just one session, but a session every day for a month, saying:
“The treatment will cure you if you stick to the one-month cupping treatment.”
Every time the man had a sore neck, he went in to get the cupping therapy. After straight days of cupping, the man began to develop huge blisters on his back, but he chose to just pop them and clean the wounds with salt water, according to China Times. He then continued to go to cupping therapy.
After one whole month of cupping therapy, the man was taking a walk on a Monday night when he began to feel ill. He was rushed to the hospital soon after where doctors found he had a fever of 103.5 degrees Fahrenheit (39.7 degrees Celsius).
After a discovering the man’s blisters, doctors determined that after he popped his blisters, the area had become severely infected and that if he had delayed in going to the hospital, he could have suffered a fatal case of blood poisoning, according to Apple Daily.
While many claim that cupping therapy, which has been used in China for thousands of years, does indeed work, proof of its effectiveness in clinical research is weak at best. A 2014 study “suggests a potential positive short-term effect” of the therapy while older studies urge for more rigorous test to be conducted.