Newsletter excerpts: 8 New Studies on cupping--August 2021

Posted by: Michelle Burns
Date Posted: August 3, 2021

Here is some of the information I recently shared in the August newsletter. Each newsletter has a specific focus.  This newsletter is focused on cupping therapy. If you would be interested in receiving my newsletters, which include links to the studies as well as special offers and sales coupons, please head over to my contact page and sign up.


  1. Effect of cup size on skin blood flow response
  2. Effect of pressure and duration on skin blood flow response
  3. Impact on skin blood flow under moving cupping
  4. Cupping in the treatment of carpal tunnel syndrome
  5. interscapular cupping effect on blood pressure, oxygen saturation, pulse rate, and chest expansion
  6. Cupping with ginger aromatherapy for reducing cholesterol levels
  7. Dry cupping for knee osteroarthritis
  8. effects of ear acupuncture with cupping for chronic back pain


1. A study, titled Using reactive hyperemia to investigate the effect of cupping sizes of cupping therapy on skin blood flow responses, published in J Back Musculoskelet Rehabil in 2021, compared the effect of 3 sizes of cups, (35, 40, and 45 mm) on skin blood flow. Their conclusion: all three cup sizes can significantly increase skin blood flow. The 45 mm cup is more effective compared to the 35 mm cup.

2.  A study titled Effects of Pressures and Duration of Cupping Therapy on Skin Blood Flow Responses, published in Front Bioeng Biotechnolin Dec 2020 compares 4 different treatments:  -225 mmHg at 5 and 10 minutes and -300 mmHg at 5 and 10 minutes.  The results showed that -300 mmHg caused a significant increase in peak skin blood flow compared to -225mmHg under 5 minutes. A higher value of negative pressure is more effective on increasing skin blood flow compared to a lower value and shorter duration causes a larger peak and total skin blood flow compared to a longer duration.

3. A study titled Impacts on skin blood flow under moving cupping along meridians in different directions, published  in Mar 2013 in Zhongguo Zhen Jui concludes: Blood flow was increased significantly and was more apparently increased in the moving cupping area. The local effects are similar between moving cupping following the meridian running direction and that against the running direction.

4. A discussion titled Is There a Role of Cupping Therapy in the Treatment of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome in Primary Care Setting, published in Jan 2021 in Cureus states:
    a.  cupping consists of application of quick, vigorous, and rhythmical strokes on the skin with the help of suction cup which stimulate cutaneous, subcutaneous muscles and increases blood flow in that area.
    b.  In the primary care setting where resources are limited for surgical intervention, the usage of cupping therapy as add-on therapy along with medial management can be an effective method of treatment.
    c.  there is a need of regulatory body for cupping therapy. A standardized procedure with established protocols will be beneficial as well as defining contraindications and complications for cupping therapy.

5. A study titled Immediate effect of interscapular cupping on blood pressure, oxygen saturation, pulse rate and chest expansion in sedentary smoker students, published in J Complement Integr Med Feb 2021 concludes: Both wet cupping and dry cupping showed improvements in all measurements (systolic and diastolic BP, upper and lower chest expansion, O2 saturation, and pulse rate) in sedentary male smoker students after a single cupping session. 

6. A study titled Application of Cupping Therapy with Ginger Aromatherapy on Reducing Cholesterol Level among Patients with Hypercholesterolemia published in International Journal of Nursing and Health Services in Feb 2021 concludes: The intervention group received the cupping therapy with ginger aromatherapy while the control group only received 10 gr simvastatin drug per day. The result showed a significant difference between the experimental group and the control group. Cupping therapy with ginger aromatherapy for 21 days was effective in reducing lipid profile levels among hypercholesterolemia patients.

7. A study, titled Effect of dry cupping versus soft and prolonged massage (with Chamomile oil ) in the management of knee osteoarthritis—a randomized controlled clinical trial, published in J Complement Integr Med in 2021 concludes:  Soft and prolonged massage with chamomile oil and dry cupping both were found safe and effective in the management of osteoarthritis. 

8.  A study titled Effects of ear acupuncture combined with cupping therapy on severity and threshold of chronic back pain and physical disability: a randomized clinical trial ,published in Journal of Traditional and Complementary Medicine in July 2021 concludes: pain severity, pressure pain threshold, and physical disability improved over time in both groups. However, for the patents being treated with both ear acupuncture and cupping therapy, significant changes were seen in pain severity, pain relief, and physical disabilities between the initial and final sessions. For the “ear acupuncture and cupping therapy” group, significant changes were also seen for pain relief and physical disability in the follow up session (7 days after treatment).

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