Cupping is traditional procedure that exists in many cultures and is also routinely used in Traditional Chinese Medicine, despite the fact that many people think of it as a rather primitive technique. A new study from Taiwan investigated the effectiveness of cupping therapy (CT) on relieving Chronic Neck & Shoulder Pain among community residents.
The study was single-blinded and included 60 patients with self-perceived pain randomly allocated to either receiving cupping in SI15, GB21 and LI15 acupoints, while the control group received no intervention. Cupping was done bilaterally for 20 minutes. Pain was assessed using the Visual Analogue Scale (VAS) and changes on skin surface temperature (SST), as well as Blood Pressure (BP).
Results showed that neck pain intensity VAS scores were reduced significantly from 9.7 to 3.6 in the cupping group and did not change significantly in the control group (9.7 to 9.5, NS). The inter-group score difference were highly significant. On the SST, temperature on GB21 acupoint increased from 30.6C to 32.7C and from 30.7C to 30.6C in the control group. There was also a significant decrease in the blood pressure in the cupping group.
This study is small based on a single treatment and is no breakthrough by any means, however the results support the use of this technique at home without any special training.