There is some evidence to suggest that cupping therapy may be beneficial for certain health conditions. However, research into cupping therapy tends to be low-quality. More studies are necessary to understand how cupping therapy works, if it works, and in what situations it may help.
Cupping therapy is a traditional Chinese and Middle Eastern practice that people use to treat a variety of conditions.
It involves placing cups at certain points on a person's skin. A practitioner creates suction in the cups, which pulls against a person's skin.
Cupping can either be dry or wet. Wet cupping involves puncturing the skin before starting the suction, which removes some of the person's blood during the procedure.
Cupping typically leaves round bruises on a person's skin, where their blood vessels burst after exposure to the procedure's suction effects.
According to a study paper in the journal
Cupping also has links to acupoints on a person's body, which are central to the practice of acupuncture.
Many doctors consider cupping therapy a complementary therapy, which means that many do not recognize it as part of Western medicine. This does not mean that it is not effective, however.
Complementary therapies with supporting research may be an addition to Western medicine. However, as the
Scientists have linked cupping therapy with a variety of health benefits, although there needs to be more research to determine whether it is effective as a treatment.
People frequently cite cupping therapy as a form of pain relief. However, while there is some evidence for its effectiveness, scientists need to conduct more high-quality studies to demonstrate this fully.
For example, a study paper in the journal
A meta-analysis that appears in the journal
One study paper in the journal
However, it notes that the studies that supported these findings were at a high risk of bias. So, more rigorous, high-quality studies are necessary to verify the findings.
A study paper in the
However, the study found no consistent evidence to show that it was effective for anything related to sports recovery.
According to the
- lasting skin discoloration
In rare instances, a person may experience more significant internal bleeding or anemia if the practitioner takes too much blood during wet cupping.
According to a study paper that appears in the Journal of Acupuncture and Meridian Studies, cupping can also cause:
Due to the poor quality of studies investigating cupping, it is difficult to know how common these side effects are.
If a person has any of these side effects following cupping therapy, they should speak to a medical professional. Some people may have health conditions, such as problems with blood clotting, that making cupping less than ideal.
There is some evidence to suggest that cupping therapy may be able to help a person with certain health issues. However, there are not enough high-quality studies to support this.
To understand whether cupping therapy is effective, how it works, and what issues it is best for, scientists need to conduct and publish more high-quality research.
If a person finds that cupping therapy relieves their pain or helps their health in another way, and if they do not experience any adverse side effects, cupping may be a very good choice. However, some therapies have better evidence for their effectiveness. Doctors may advise that people consider these first.
A person may choose to use cupping therapy alongside better-evidenced therapies. If this is the case, it is important that they let a medical professional know.