Last night, known meditator and lover of alternative medicine, Lena Dunham posted a topless picture to Instagram. No, it’s not the exhibitionist kind of toplessness that we have grown to expect from the HBO powerhouse. This shirtless selfie shows Dunham’s back in all its glory, complete with tattoos, big red circular welts and the caption “Da Cure.”
We’ve seen the tattoos before, but “what’s with the red marks?” You might be asking yourself. Those welts are nothing dangerous, they’re an after effect of dat cure she was captioning about. It appears as though the Girls writer, actress and director is now dabbling in a kind of traditional Chinese medicine called Cupping.
In China, cupping is traditionally practiced to treat respiratory conditions, arthritis, pain and gastrointestinal distress, though it is sometimes used to treat depression and other ailments.
According to Acupuncture Today, a typical cupping session involves,
“Glass cups [that] are warmed using a cotton ball or other flammable substance, which is soaked in alcohol, let, then placed inside the cup. Burning a substance inside the cup removes all the oxygen, which creates a vacuum.
As the substance burns, the cup is turned upside-down so that the practitioner can place the cup over a specific area.
The vacuum created by the lack of oxygen anchors the cup to the skin and pulls it upward on the inside of the glass as the air inside the jar cools.
Intriguing! But how does it cure anything?
Drawing up the skin is believed to open up the skin’s pores, which helps to stimulate the flow of blood, balances and realigns the flow of qi, breaks up obstructions, and creates an avenue for toxins to be drawn out of the body.
How long do you need to having hot cup vacuums on your skin for this to work?
“Depending on the condition being treated, the cups will be left in place from 5 to 10 minutes. Several cups may be placed on a patient’s body at the same time. Some practitioners will also apply small amounts of medicated oils or herbal oils to the skin just before the cupping procedure, which lets them move the cups up and down particular acupoints or meridians after they have been applied.”
The welts may last a few days and aren’t painless. They occur when the cup is lifted off and the blood vessels in skin expand.
I’ve never tried cupping before, but it seems like a pretty groovy way to cure what ails you. Does anyone know a good cupping guy in New York City? I’d love to try it.
Image via Instagram