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Updated: 2014-07-22

With traditional chinese medicine, pain relief is just a cup and a flame away

Marisol Sanchez Fernandez is a young Spaniard who works for a busy graphic design company in Beijing. Recently she noticed that her neck and shoulders were beginning to ache and even to become numb.

Cups made of bamboo, iron and pottery are still used by some acupuncturists in China. [Xu Congjun / For China Daily]

"The doctor diagnosed that I was suffering from slight cervical spondylosis (the degeneration of neck joints), and my problem was not solved after I took ... Western medicines," Fernandez says.

A Chinese friend suggested that she try the traditional Chinese therapy of cupping.

"Through undergoing a course of treatment, my symptoms were ... alleviated," Fernandez says.

The treatment includes creating a vacuum by burning a wick inside a jar and quickly placing the jar on the selected area. According to the theory of traditional Chinese medicine, the ensuing vacuum and the effect of suction helps draw out inner toxins, promotes the flow of "qi" and blood and unblocks channels called meridians, easing swelling and reducing pain.

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