With a long-standing history in China, cupping is a very effective external therapeutic branch of Chinese medicine. Yet one seldom sees treatises regarding this field published either in China or in the West. Normally, cupping therapy can be found only as a chapter in books on acupuncture. Ilkay Zihni Chirali's book has filled a gap in the field.
It comprehensively and systematically deals with all aspects of cupping therapy, including history, new developments, benefits, methods and major common diseases that can be treated effectively by cupping, etc.
The rich teaching and clinical experience of the author enables him to introduce and discuss all topics of the therapy in a detailed and clear way. This helps readers to understand the book, including sections where the author talks about the preparation of cupping, what to expect during and after cupping, how often cupping can be applied, etc.
There are numerous photographs and pictures in the book, which are very helpful for readers and learners wanting to fully understand the procedures and techniques of the therapy. The author's wide-ranging knowledge of acupuncture, Chinese herbal medicine and other therapies have given him a broader view of cupping, leading to penetrating analyses and discussions of different aspects of the therapy.
The author's long-standing interest in cupping therapy derived initially from his family's tradition; both his grandmother and great-grandmother were midwives and practised cupping. He saw his grandmother practising cupping and was also treated by his mother, using the cupping therapy. This family influence aroused his special interest and enthusiasm for cupping later when he started to learn acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine. He has been working hard to practise and conduct research on cupping therapy when many practitioners see cupping as a trifling skill and neglect it. Thus this book is the product of much hard labour.
The merits and value of the book also rely upon some discussion and points which can rarely be found in other books on the same subject. For example, in the chapter on the history of cupping, the author gives not only detailed information about cupping in China, but also the practice of the therapy in the West in both ancient and modern times, much of which information is little known.
He is probably the first practitioner in the West to make the point that cupping can also be used in two ways, for tonification and reduction. The idea of combining cupping with other alternative therapies is another good suggestion to enhance treatment.
As a book published in the West, it also considers carefully the conditions of the treatment based on different cultural, medical and physical backgrounds. For example, the author advises that cupping should not be performed on patients before they take a vacation on a beach. The physical and psychological sensitivities of patients in the West, which are often different from patients in China, should be borne in mind with cupping, as with acupuncture and herbal medicine.
Nowadays cupping is commonly used by acupuncture practitioners in the UK. Cupping therapy is also commonly taught in all acupuncture colleges in the country. Yet our understanding and practice of cupping are rather general and limited. This book is obviously a special and useful guide for both practitioners and teachers. I would also like to recommend the book to the general public.
The author remarks that `Nothing moves qi and blood faster than cupping.' The therapy is suitable for treating a wide range of complaints. It is effective, simple and inexpensive. This book may encourage practitioners to use it more.
Qing Zhang Qing Zhang trained in China and has 18 years' clinical experience, practising both acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine. She has a practice in Southampton in the UK.