Of Russian origin: Banki
Banki, or fire cupping, are small glass vessels from which the air is exhausted by heat or suction before being applied to the skin. Banki are supposed to draw blood to the surface for therapeutic purposes.
Initially, banki were to be applied by a doctor only, but in many families this simple rule was ignored, and moms and grandmas learned to apply banki themselves. Cream was to be rubbed into the skin before actually applying the cups; moreover, they were to be applied for no more than ten minutes, otherwise, the patient could receive a painful burn.
Today banki are more a remnant of times past than a frequently used healthcare product. This is due mainly to the fact that banki cause the skin to turn an ominous yellowish red. Furthermore nowadays numerous modern ointments and drugs provide the same effect, but without so much trouble. In fact, the area of use of these objects was and still remains quite limited.
The Soviet period in the history of Russia is considered to be “the golden age” of banki – they were prescribed if a patient suffered from productive cough or headache, toothache or wrick, stomachache or twists. They were inexpensive and immensely popular regardless of the social position or income of the family.
Children especially loved falling ill and being forced to lie still while the doctor applied the banki to their backs, as the whole procedure guaranteed a week’s vacation from school and special care from their parents.
For those who feel nostalgic, today it is still possible to find banki in some Russian drugstores; modern banki are made not only of glass but also of plastic and sometimes are multicolored. And even though no one can promise they will help, they may let you feel once again like a little child skipping classes.
Written by Anna Yudina, RT