Newsletter: Cupping excerpts-- February 2018

Michelle Burns
February 13, 2018

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

Tidbits, Updates and Resources:

1.Dr. Ross Turchaninov posted an article on the Science of Massage Institute titled “The Horrors of Improper Massage Therapy” but the article actually dealt with cupping therapy. The article includes pictures of the client following a cupping session that actually causes increased pain for the client as well as significant tissue damage. You can read the article on the Science of Massage website.

2.  A paper, published in Complement Ther Med in Oct 2012, titled Safety protocols for gun she (press-stroking) and baguan (cupping)” states: …instrument assisted mechanical stimulation of the body surface that intentionally creates therapeutic petechiae and ecchymosis representing extravasation of blood in the subcutis. Blood and ‘other potentially infectious material’ (OPIM) can sometimes be drawn through the surface of the skin leading to potential contamination of instruments and to risk of bloodborne pathogen exposure….Presents the nature of the potential risks and applies current hospital safety standards as proposed protocols for Gua she and Baguan.”

3.  Veterinary Medicine is just beginning to use negative pressure in treatment of animals. In a paper by Vlaams Diergeneeskundig Tijdschrift, titled Negative Pressure Wound Therapy: the past and the future, the faculty of veterinary medicine at Ghent University concludes: Negative pressure for the treatment of wounds has been applied for centuries. Positive and promising results have been documented (in veterinary medicine) but more controlled studies are needed to clarify the exact mechanism and beneficial effects of NPWT in animal patients.”

4. An article in Nov 2017 Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice by Duane Lowe concludes: Negative pressure causes stretching of the skin and underlying tissue and dilation of the capillaries. This stimulates in increase in tissue blood flow, eventually leading to capillary rupture and ecchymosis. Macrophages phagocytize the erythrocytes in the extravascual space which stimulates the production of Heme Oxygnase-1 (HO-1) to metabolize the heme. Heme catalysis results in the production of carbon monoxide(CO), biliverdin (BV)/bilirubin(BR) and iron. HO-1, BV, BR and CO has been shown to have antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antiproliferative, and neuromodulatory effects in animal and human systems. These substances also stimulate a shift of macrophages to the anti-inflammatory M2 phenotype. This could account for many of cupping therapy’s claims local and systemic health benefits.


I receive a weekly update on anything published anywhere on the internet that includes information about cupping (dry, massage). If you have any problems with the links, please let me know, or if you come across any information that you think would be good to share, please also feel free to pass that information along:

  1.  A study titled “Dry cupping for plantar fasciitis: a randomized controlled trial” published in J Phys Ther Sci in May 2017, concluded:  …Both dry cupping therapy and electrical stimulation therapy could reduce pain and increase function in the population tested (patients with plantar fasciitis).
  2. A study published on NISCAIR Online Periodicals repository, in Jul 2015, titled “Dry cupping therapy decreases cellulite in women: A pilot study” concluded:  …indicated for the first time in humans that dry moving cupping therapy might be effective on cellulite. Dry moving cupping therapy may cause the drainage of interstitial fluid and its elements into blood and lymphatic capillaries, especially lipids in cellulite.

  3. A study published on PLOSOne in Jun 2013, titled Effectiveness of Home-Based Cupping Massage Compared to Progressive Muscle Relaxation in Patients with Chronic Neck Pain-A Randomized Controlled Trial” concluded:  Cupping massage is not more effective than progressive muscle relaxation in reducing chronic non-specific neck pain. Both therapies can be easily used at home and can reduce pain to a minimal clinically relevant extent. Cupping massage may, however, be better than Progressive Muscle Relaxation in  improving well-being and decreasing pressure pain sensitivity but more studies…are needed.

  4. A study titled “Dry cupping in children with functional constipation: a randomized open-label clinical trial”, published Jul 2016 in Afr J Treat Complement Altern Med, concluded: …dry cupping of the abdominal wall, as a traditional manipulative therapy, can be as effective as standard laxative therapy in children with functional constipation.

  5. A study titled “Treatment of shoulder myofascial trigger points in amateur athletes with ERGON IASTM Therapy, cupping and ischemic pressure techniques: a randomized controlled clinical trial” by Department of Physiotherapy, Technological Education Institute of Western Greece in 2017 concluded: The Ergon-IASTM technique and ischemic pressure technique produced a significantly larger effect (pain and sensitivity reduction) compared with cupping therapy after the 2nd treatment.

  6. A case study, titled “Utilization of Cupping Therapy in the Treatment of Vascular Thoracic Outlet Syndrome in a Collegiate Pitcher: A CXase Study, published in The Journal of Sports Medicine and Allied Health Sciences concludes:  Cupping therapy may be a  viable treatment option when seeking to address tight musculature.

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