Oh, hello, online patients. I hope you didn’t eat all of the copies of Highlights in the waiting room since the last edition of Ask Dr. Snee. I’m taking a break from watching the Olympics — and totally not hiding from malpractice suits (whaaaat.) — in Rio, so I figured that I’d answer some of the letters my attorney forwarded me.
What is cupping, why is Michael Phelps doing it, and why won’t my doctor recommend it?
— In Pain in Pawtucket
“Cupping” is the ancient Egyptian word for “keeping your massage parlor ahead of the competition.” Basically, you take the existing massage treatment — rubbing you until you’re either too embarrassed or ejaculate your problems away — and then multiply it by 72, the mystical number of virgins awaiting hucksters in heaven.
So, you take a open-ended glass bulb with a nipple on it, right? You place that over the skin, and then heat it up so that the air molecules inside the bulb create a vacuum, healing you with a hickey like middle school self-esteem.
Your doctor won’t recommend it because they’re a xenophobic piece of garbage, IP². And, also because inflicting pain and bodily damage without any benefits violates our Hippocratic Oath.
See, despite years of practice and studies, nobody practicing it has yet to prove that it pulls off any of the many disparate miracles it claims, including treating the common cold, anemia, arthritis, infertility, acne, and mental illness. Of course, maybe cupping could achieve any one of these if it stuck with one ailment instead of half-ass treating everything.
No, there’s only one remedy I recommend: booze. It doesn’t cure anything except a functional liver or happy marriage, but it can help you forget everything cupping claims to treat.
So, if cupping is so useless, why is Michael Phelps allowing someone to do it to him? Who knows, IP². It’s possible that, while being very fast in water, he’s a little slow upstairs. Maybe he’s doing it because his trainer thinks it works. Or maybe, if his wife believes in “alternative medicine,” he has to go along with it so she feels helpful and not a moron. Or, like most professional athletes, he’s willing to try anything if it at least makes him feel in control of something when his entire performance hinges on unpredictable factors, like aging, injuries, water quality and competitors.
And, speaking of swimmers …
Why do professional swimmers need lifeguards?
–Swimming for Answers in San Antonio
Who do you think is more likely to drown, SA²: somebody who barely leaves the wall of the pool except to pee away from everyone else? Or somebody swimming all out, through pain and beyond their normal performance measures, to win the most important race of their life?
Most people don’t drown because they’re weak swimmers — weak swimmers are weak because they don’t try to swim all that much. Aside from the occasional weak swimmer thrown into a part of water they wouldn’t dare venture into, most people drown when they hurt themselves or tire out. It’s like how non-runners don’t usually get plantar fasciitis — they can’t because they don’t run enough to sustain a running injury — or how non-weightlifters won’t get “too big” — that’s impossible only lifting the bar.
Why are gymnasts so small?
— Not a Creep in North Carolina
Because, NC², tiny people need to learn to reach top shelves for themselves.
How afraid should I be of Zika?
–Afraid of Zika in Arizona
So, Zika is a big concern for Olympic athletes since it’s so prevalent in Brazil. If you’re afraid of the very existence of Zika, then — on a scale of 1 to 10 — I’d rate it “drop what you’re doing, and crap your pants.” But, that’s only if you discount the likelihood of contracting Zika, including means to avoid it and how close you are in proximity to Zika cases, and whether it will even impact you, AZ².
Since you live in the United States, you probably shouldn’t worry too much about contracting Zika, specifically. And if you have no intention or, let’s face it, the means to conceive a child in the next six months, then you probably shouldn’t worry at all.
But, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be concerned about preventing mosquito bites for a whole host of reasons beyond Zika. West Nile is a more realistic, although also rare infection spread by mosquitoes. And if heroin’s making a comeback in the U.S., then it’s only a matter of time before malaria does, too.
But, the most important reason to prevent mosquito bites is because I hate mosquitoes. By using proven prevention techniques, such as repellent, screens, dumping out stagnant water and never, ever going outside, we are hitting nature’s tiny, disappointing vampires where they hurt most — in the bedroom. Female mosquitoes only suck blood to nurture eggs, which they then lay in still water.
So, if you really want to be a Zika-blocker, always wear protection.
Rick Snee is not, in any way, a licensed medical professional or an actor that plays one on television. His only qualifications are high school and college biology (101 and 102), reading Men’s Health (2001-2003), and a systematic exposure to almost all health hazards (1981-present), but no medical training whatsoever. He’s just really opinionated, which is good enough for blogging. To submit your own questions to Dr. Snee, Guynecologist, post comments below or email the good doctor.