Newsletter excerpts: 10 New Studies on the use of cupping--August 2020

Posted by: Michelle Burns
Date Posted: August 5, 2020

Here is some of the information I recently shared in my August newsletter. Each newsletter has a specific focus.  This month is focused on the cupping technique. If you would be interested in receiving my newsletters, please head over to my contact page and sign up.


  1. Dry cupping, ischemic compression or combination for treatment of trigger points
  2. Manual therapy, dry cupping or dry needling for myofascial trigger points
  3. Dry cupping for plantar heel pain
  4. Wet cupping and dry cupping effect on decreasing blood pressure
  5. Using a graph to show efficacy of cupping treament locations for 3 different conditions
  6. Single cupping therapy session improves pain, sleep, and disability for low back pain
  7. Attentional bias toward cupping therapy marks
  8. Cupping therapy for chronic urticaria
  9. Dry cupping for nonspecific neck pain and subcutaneous hemodynamics
  10. Effectiveness of dry cupping on chronic fatigue syndrome


I receive a weekly update on anything published on the internet that includes information about cupping.  I try to glean the best of the information and provide a brief synopsis of the information. If you come across any information that you think would be good to share, please also feel free to pass that information along to:

1. A study, titled Dry cupping, ischemic compression, or their combination for the treatment of trigger points: a pilot randomized trial, published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine in Jan 2020 suggests: results showed a statistically significant improvement in Neck Disability Index, Pressure Pain Threshold and Neck Range of Motion compared with values before the treatment in all groups. Although no significant difference was detected between ischemic compression and dry cupping, the combination approach showed significantly higher and faster improvement.

2.  A study titled A systematic review of manual therapy techniques, dry cupping and dry needling in the reduction of myofascial pain and myofascial trigger points, published in Journal of Bodywork & Movement Therapies in Jul 2019, concludes: there is moderate evidence for manual therapy in myofascial pain treatment, the evidence for dry needling and cupping is not greater than placebo. Future studies should address the limitations of small sample sizes, unclear methodologies, poor grounding, and lack of control groups.

3.  A study titled Effects of myofascial trigger point dry cupping on pain and function in patients with plantar heel pain: A randomized controlled trial, published in the Journal of Bodywork & Movement Therapies in Jul 2019, concluded:  Adding dry cupping on calf MTrPs to self-stretching and ankle dorsiflexion exercises for patients with plantar heel pain was superior to only self-stretching and active ankle dorsiflexion exercises in pain, ankle dorsiflexion ROM, and plantar flexor strength.

4.  A paper titled The Effectiveness of Wet Cupping and Dry Cupping on Back Points Against Decreasing Blood Pressure in Hypertension Patients in Wonopringgo Village, Pekalongan Regency and presented at the International Nursing Conference on Chronic Disease Management Pekalongan, Indonesia, August 7-8, 2019 concludes:  1)  Dry cupping has provided significant benefits in reducing blood pressure with hypertension.  2)  Wet cupping therapy is more effective than dry cupping therapy for lowering blood pressure.

5.  3 studies focused on identifying appropriate treatment points for cupping treatments for 3 different conditions created graphs to show the efficacy of points for each condition. 1)  Optimal medicinal cupping points selection for asthma disease via graph coloring: a preliminary study   2)  Efficacy of cupping in the treatment of hypertension disease using graph coloring, and 3) A preliminary study of optimizing back pain medicinal cupping points disease via graph coloring. 

6.  A study titled Single Cupping Therapy Session Improves Pain, Sleep, and Disability in Patients with Nonspecific Chronic Low Back Pain, published in Journal of Acupuncture Meridian Studies in Apr 2020 concluded: patients showed a significant improvement in all pain severity items and sleep and a decrease in disability. No significant differences were found in pressure pain threshold or skin temperature. No significant differences were found in any outcome of the placebo cupping therapy group. patients in the experimental groups receive 15 minutes of cupping bilaterally at points: Bl23, BL24, BL25.

7.  A study, titled Attentional Bias Toward Cupping Therapy Marks: An Eye-Tracking Study, published in Journal of Pain Research in 2020 concludes: The skin reactions caused by cupping therapy evoked negative emotional responses as well as attentional bias to the reaction sites. Our findings suggest that the emotional and attentional responses to cupping therapy might reflect potential reluctance to this therapy.

8.  A study titled Cupping therapy for patients with chronic urticaria: A systematic review and meta-analysis, published in Journal of Integrative Medicine in July 2020 concluded:  Wet cupping may be as effective as treatment with antihistamines. When cupping therapy is used as an adjuvant therapy to antihistamines or acupuncture, it may enhance the efficacy. Results drawn from these studies should be interpreted with caution and applied with care to clinical practice, because of the poor quality among the studies that we’re reviewed.

9.  A study titled Dry cupping therapy for improving nonspecific neck pain and subcutaneous hemodynamics, published in Journal of Athletic Training in July 2020, concluded: a single session of dry cupping therapy (directly over the most painful area for 8 minutes) may be an effective short-term treatment method for immediately reducing pain and increasing oxygenated and total hemoglobin levels in patients with non-specific neck pain.

10.  A study titled The effectiveness of cupping therapy on chronic fatigue syndrome: a single-blind randomized controlled trial, published in Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice in August 2020 concludes: cupping therapy has significantly relieved fatigue symptoms and improved emotion and sleep condition of CFS patients, and 10 sessions of treatment had superior results compared with 5 sessions in each group. Moreover, in 5 sessions of treatment, cupping with high pressure showed better improvement in fatigue syndromes and sleep condition according to effective rates.


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