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Dramatic relief of colon cancer pain in terminal patient wit metastatic liver, peritoneal, and lungs using press cups in Japanese method


Dramatic Relief of Methastatic Colon Cancer Pain in Liver, Peritoneum, and Lung in Terminal Patients Using Press Cups

Cancer can be a devastating disease when diagnosed and addressed at later stages of evolution. My patient was a female, 65, with diffuse pain on the right hypochondriac region, that had an insidious worsening of the pain, started at mid-February 2005, that rapidly spread to the lumbar, iliac and umbilical areas. In less than two weeks the entire abdomen was hurting, with more intensity on the right side. MRI scans confirmed masses on the right colon, liver, lungs and peritoneum compatible with neoplastic growth. Biopsy of colon confirmed cancer. Morphine was immediately started at high dosages of 60 mg, with mineral oil to avoid constipation. Little relief of pain although measurable was insufficient. With the permission of the medical staff at the Quinta D´Or Hospital at Rio de Janeiro, Brasil, a tentative non-conventional domiciliary therapy with acupuncture press cups was commenced since the chief of staff was an interested and curious enthusiast in eastern medicine, earnestly struggling with the reduction of the patient’s pain. Immediate research was begun to be conducted on what approach could be adopted to treat the patient, as she was a relative of the author of this article.

Since no invasive methods including needling or blood-letting were permitted. The author who is also a physician, started a Japanese method of Kyukaku (cupping) he researched on the internet to address the pain of the patient. The practitioner had absolutely no training, knowledge, technique and obviously no clinical previous experience. I (Martius de Oliveira, AP CRM 57353960) started reading the main clinical usages of Kyukaku, which include:

• Releases muscle tension and relieves Blood stasis
• Use to move large amounts of wind from constantly migrating pain
• Useful for pain management, loosens tight muscles
• Useful for Blood stasis a/or moving stagnant Qi
• Useful for weak a/or deficient patients
• Useful for chronic pain
• Useful for blood stasis a/or pain

Cupping Methods Used:

  1. Applied a total of 6 press cups with medium pressure;
  2. Pressure applied on cups required a lot of good sense to avoid excessive reddening, purpling and bloating.
  3. There were no specific places of application. Choice of locus for application of the press cups were selected with criteria. In fact, I used a simplistic methodology which consisted basically of choosing places without infection or bleeding but with significant local pain and painful bloating of certain areas.
  4. Cups were retained for 20+ minutes on the patients abdomen;
  5. Vaseline was applied and no moving or sliding was applied;
  6. Cupping was either done locally or distally depending on the amount of inflammation in the area;
  7. In all the 20 or so applications, with no exceptions, the patient pain status changed dramatically from excruciating pain to deep sleep for at least six hours without the use of morphine;
  8. During the entire period of remaining life of the patient (my aunt) morphine dosages plunged from more than 60mg to 20mg a day;

Except for the growing tiredness, my aunt experienced a marvelous state of optimism in face of death and excellent appetite, although the ponderal loss was impressive. Besides her daily practice of Buddhism, now with acupuncture, she became definitely convinced she was made of an energy she could not see but sense and feel coursing through her frail body. In indication that perhaps all she believed for in her life was real. She passed away in peace two weeks later.


Since my patient was my relative that demanded full-time attention and cognizant of the principles of TCM since she was Japanese, she made several fundamental observations that we all must learn. So here they are:

  1. Cancer causes extreme blood stagnation to several organs and obstruction to important channels supplied by the area affected by cancer leading to important fatigue.
  2. Cancer produces enormous amounts of wind that surprised even me. The ensuing results are a chaotic dislocation of pain in joints and change of severity of pain.
  3. Wind also provokes sudden changes in types of pain and not just locations.
  4. Cold and Damp are the mainstay of Cancer, causing a deficiency in Whey Qi that must be also addressed. I didn’t use needles I told you but if allowed I would think of LU-7, LI-4 and ST-36 for Whey Qi.

But remember though, that the disease was all the time in the abdomen. So we heat the abdomen with tea, warm plastic bags, warm wet tissues, moxibustion and imposition of hands to transfer our Qi to the patient.

Wind must definitely be dispelled with press cups, even much better window flame cups. Don’t ask me why but they were infinitely better to remove wind.

Feel free to ask.


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