My Cup Runneth Over

Sunday January 22nd. Morning.

I've been woken up by banging on my door before. But not so my room can be used as an impromptu surgery. And certainly not for witchdoctoring.

I sleep, and mostly live, in a tent that combines functions of guest room, spare bedroom, and communal lounge. So today I was woken up at the crack of 10:30 by hammering on the canvass door. Over the next half hour, I watched The Valeyard, a trained lawyer, remember...perform the "full cupping" ritual.

He took a set of small tea glasses, placed a piece of burning paper in each to create a partial vacuum inside, and stuck them at various point on another man's bare back. Eventually, this led to bleeding into the cups. The idea being that "bad" or "dead" or "infected" blood would be drawn out, leaving only the good, uninfected blood behind.

The patient then sheepishly tucked a 20 lira note under the mattress - the only shame being the giving of payment.

Just what is the function of folk medicine? Certainly not to cure - if that were the purpose, it would long ago have developed into real medicine. To reassure? To provide a trigger for the placebo effect? To give the reassuring impression that something can be done, when it can't?

You'd have to ask an actual medical doctor. So I did, and got answers that flitted between "The placebo effect is powerful" and "Maybe it works in some way we don't know".
You've heard of big pharma? This is little pharma.

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