What might be causing round marks on an Asian or Asian-American woman's back?
September 27, 2012 8:06 PM   Subscribe

At the gym over the past few months, I have seen a few Asian or Asian-American 60-something women with their backs covered with 1.5-inch - diameter circular marks. Does anyone know what may have caused these marks? Are they the result of a medical condition? A medical treatment? A common injury or abuse? The largest Asian-American population here is Korean. The marks are varying in intensity, so it looks like they occurred over a period of time.
posted by jaguar to Health & Fitness (12 answers total)
Best answer: Cupping therapy.
posted by mochapickle at 8:07 PM on September 27, 2012 [4 favorites]

Best answer: cupping therapy?
posted by lia at 8:08 PM on September 27, 2012

Best answer: Cupping therapy!
posted by mochapickle at 8:09 PM on September 27, 2012

Best answer: Cupping therapy.
posted by cmoj at 8:11 PM on September 27, 2012

Response by poster: After googling images for cupping therapy, I'm going to declare this one solved. Thank you!
posted by jaguar at 8:12 PM on September 27, 2012

Check out a picture of Gwyneth Paltrow from the late 90s. Girlfriend was a cupping fiend.
posted by discopolo at 8:14 PM on September 27, 2012

about ten years ago, i actually got some cupping done when i had such a pain on the left side of my neck and shoulders that i couldn't turn my head. i wasn't expecting much, but it actually totally worked.
posted by violetk at 12:25 AM on September 28, 2012

And the end of Dangerous Liasons.
posted by snuffleupagus at 3:49 AM on September 28, 2012 [1 favorite]

Cupping is so awesome. I have a set at home that you can do yourself. It helps with not only muscle fatigue and pain, but it will shorten the life of a cold and other ailments. The interesting thing is, a bruised mark only appears if there is a problem in the spot where the cup is placed. If there is no issue, there will not be a spot.
posted by Yellow at 5:31 AM on September 28, 2012

I occasionally see people out and about here in China who've had one done on their forehead. Not tried more than the traditional back myself.
posted by Abiezer at 7:31 AM on September 28, 2012

Cupping doesn't really have any of the claimed medical effects, aside from feeling good and maybe having some massage like effects. And it certainly doesn't only bruise where there is a "problem", that kind of suction will always cause bruising, and there really aren't any problems being targeted. It won't shorten the life of a cold.

Also, it's not particularly dangerous, but it can be painful and there is a potential for injury (incl. burns) especially if done incorrectly. And some cupping involves bleeding which of course adds to the risks.

It's quite old and widespread among different cultures, probably because people enjoy it.
posted by Raidallinen at 11:06 AM on September 28, 2012 [4 favorites]

Raidallinen has it. I've done it several times (I live in Seoul) and meh.
posted by Joseph Gurl at 6:13 PM on September 29, 2012

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