Leading Integrated Healthcare

This is one of the techniques utilised within Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and can be combined with Acupuncture and Tui Na massage. A vacuum is created inside a glass, plastic or bamboo cup before being placed on the skin, so that the cup sticks to the skin. This increases blood circulation to the area, and is excellent for pain, stiffness and congestion.

There has been a huge surge of interest in Cupping Therapy since Michael Phelps won his 19th Olympic gold medal at the Rio Olympics, and attracted just as much attention for the purple marks all over his body. They come from cupping therapy, a suction-based massage popular with the US Olympic team.


Does cupping hurt and what are the circles?

Cupping feels like suction, and the pressure is adjusted to the person so that it is not uncomfortable.  The distinctive circles sometimes left after cupping are where the cups have pulled ‘stagnant blood’ to the surface. This can vary in colour from pink to deep purple and can last from a few minutes to several days. The darker and longer lasting the circles, the more ‘stagnation was present, and the more the person most likely needed the cupping therapy!


Stefan Chmelik has been using Cupping Therapy to help people with different conditions for almost 30 years, and has previously taught practitioners the skill within the UK.


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Pictures of Rio cupping swimmers

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Vacuum cupping in action at Rio 298x300 Cupping Therapy




Dr Kaplan: Provocative Therapy

In December 2012, as result of a stress at work, I suffered from severe anxiety, fear, panic attacks, tachycardia and insomnia.These symptoms became increasingly severe and were associated with low self-esteem and loss of self-confidence. I consulted my GP who prescribed Citalopram and beta blockers for the tachycardia. The antidepressant did not suit me and I felt worse. I was then referred to Dr Brian Kaplan, to be treated with the ‘Provocative Therapy’. This treatment adapted by Dr Kaplan, is based on the principle that the therapist ask questions covering all aspects of the patient’s life, by exaggerating the meanings of it. During the 1 hour session, the patient experiences a strong reaction, triggered by the ‘Provocative’ input of the therapist. Initially, there is an increased fear with regression to the childhood, associated to strong emotions and sorrow, which may precipitate sobbing. Subsequently, this state is followed by a phase of self-analysis which is more constructive. The ‘provocation’ breaks the pattern of the patient’s own feelings of hopelessness and discomfort. In fact, there is an opening of the self-image and a critical strong desire for change, in response to the provocation, which can be at times, outrageous. I underwent 9 weekly sessions during which I progressively became free from fear. The anxiety and panic attacks reduced significantly and I started to know what I want from my life and became more positive and optimistic. At the end of the 9 weeks, I acquired my self-confidence and self – esteem together with a new approach in my life which initially appeared to me broken and rather useless. The 9 sessions – in my opinion – were sufficient to resolve the initial acute state with anxiety and I felt a person full of interest and happier.  It is more than one year since I started the ‘provocative therapy’ with Dr Kaplan and I have not had any relapse to the original symptoms and discomfort. I strongly recommend this this therapy as a novelty; this is medication- free and can produce resolution of the acute psychological/mental conditions, quicker than the conventional therapies. In order to be successful, it is crucial that the patient collaborates and has complete trust in the therapist. The scientific process of such a treatment is not yet known and /or clarified. However, a number of recent studies in Neurophysiology and Psychiatry have shown the importance of hexogen and endogen stimuli, which can triggers and induce changes in the brain in response to the external inputs, acting via the hypothalamic/endocrine axes. It can be suggested that some of these mechanisms may be involved in the therapeutic process of the Provocative Therapy, but a lot of work needs to be in hand.