Can cupping cure infertilty?
When you’re staring infertility in the face you find yourself willing to do anything to fall pregnant.
I’m infertile.

It’s soul destroying and heart breaking and all words that describe how a person’s very being can feel shredded by failure. I’ve got the specialists, pills, injections, exercise, diet and husband boxes all ticked and ready to go, but every time another Not Pregnant result appears I ask myself what more I could have done? Not any more.

I’m now climbing aboard the alternative medicine train and I’ve started with Cupping Therapy. This is an ancient medical practice that has been recorded as far back as the ancient Egyptian, Chinese and Middle Eastern civilisations. It has also surfaced as a celebrity-driven craze as the likes of Jennifer Aniston and Gwyneth Paltrow show off their circular bruises.

So what is it, I hear you ask? Well, a cupping practitioner takes glass cups and attaches them to your back using a mild suction created by either air or fire. There is also wet cupping that uses controlled blood loss, but that’s not very common. These cups are placed onto very specific parts of your body, for example, my doctor placed the cups at the top of my shoulders for shoulder pain, improved circulation and boosting my immunity, and along my lower back for kidney and liver function and to help with fertility. Cupping can be used for all sorts of issues including migraines, circulation, stress, weight loss, and energy, so you will likely appreciate some other benefits too.  

On my way to the Chinese Medical Clinic I was a nervous wreck. Pictures of cupping are not pretty. There’s none of that Western la-di-da oils and candles stuff here, just cups hoovering your skin into space while you lie there terrified that one move will see your back turning into a weapon of mass destruction – cups flying everywhere as they ping off your back.

I lay down, she rattled a box. I shivered. And then it was over. In a matter of seconds my entire back was covered and it felt as if I was being pinched by a dozen angry fairies. It wasn’t this relaxing, Zen experience that the celebrities claim it to be, nor was it agonising and horrible. It was just…weird.  She threw a towel over me and disappeared. Now I’m not going to lie, this experience wasn’t helped by the fact that the clinic was freezing cold and the doctor strangely reluctant to answer any of my questions.  According to my research she was supposed to massage my skin before cupping and analyse the depth of my bruising afterwards. I got none of this, nor was I given any post-cupping instructions. I left in a bad mood and covered in bruises after my 15 minute session.

Did it work? I’m going to tentatively say that it did. I can’t say it has transformed my aging eggs into fresh young ones ready to make gorgeous babies, but I can say that I felt strangely energised afterwards. I’ll be doing it again with someone else, and next time I’ll throw  acupuncture into the mix…

You are looking at spending at least R300 for a first consultation as the doctor will need to take a full patient history. After that the average cost is around R150 and you need to do at least six sessions to see a long term benefit.


Cape Town: The Wellness Centre
Durban: Cupping

Have you tried alternative treatments for infertility?

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