Justin Trudeau, A Word on Cupping | The Body of Evidence

Justin Trudeau, A Word on Cupping

Justin Trudeau, this video is for you. With great power comes the great responsibility of showing young Canadians that pseudoscience doesn't fool you.

Why cupping doesn't work and why science matters.





Hey, this is Jonathan from The Body of Evidence.

Mr. Trudeau... can I call you Justin?

We've learned recently, through Jonah Keri and MacLeans, that you use cupping. This is the practice of placing a glass cup against the skin and creating a vacuum inside of it, which tents the skin upwards and forces the blood closer to it, much like how a hickey is formed. Maybe Canadians love you so much, your arm is covered in their hickeys but, no, your press secretary confirmed these marks are from cupping.

Before I say what I have to say on the topic, look. We both want treatments that work, treatments that are affordable, treatments that are safe. No one goes looking for pseudoscience. And not everyone has a science degree and can tell effective treatments from nonsense. I'm sure someone you trust recommended cupping to you and, hey, they must know what they're talking about, right? They might even have told you that it works for them. That kind of anecdotal evidence is good enough for most people.

But, as your science minister can explain to you, anecdotes aren't worth much in science. There are just too many variables involved. So we do studies. Some studies are better than others, because they're more rigorous at getting rid of these pesky variables. Not all studies are created equal; we have to look for the ones that are well designed and where the analysis is sound and see what they have to say.

Yes, there are studies that seem to show cupping works, but they are weak studies of low quality. The higher quality studies are negative. This is a trend we see again and again with alternative medical treatments that make use of the temporary placebo effect.

The bruising you get on your arms? Those are tiny blood vessels that burst under the vacuum that was applied to your arm. Now, supposedly, cupping help draw blood to the muscles to facilitate recuperation. Does that make sense? Would breaking blood vessels help blood circulation?

All that to say that you are free to do whatever you want in the pursuit of health as long as you're not harming others. But people look up to you. You're a celebrity. Your choices, when they are visible, will be adopted by a large number of Canadians.

Please come back to the side of science, Justin. And let your arms lead the way.