Man’s back hair on fire after cupping

The incident raised questions about informed consent, according to the ACT Health Services Commissioner.

The cupping procedure uses a piece of burning material, such as a swab, to heat the air inside a cup, which then expands, and when placed on the skin creates a partial vacuum. It is understood the man was left with visible burns to his back after the treatment.

The man withdrew his complaint after receiving flowers and a letter of apology from the provider, but the Health Services Commissioner decided to conduct an inquiry into the incident on public health and safety grounds.

"The concern as we went into it was whether there had been informed consent," Health Services Commissioner Mary Durkin told MO.

The man is understood to have attended for acupuncture and, during the course of initial discussion, also agreed to have a massage. Whether he formally consented to the cupping procedure is being investigated.