Wet cupping therapy restores sympathovagal imbalances in cardiac rhythm

J Altern Complement Med. 2014 Apr;20(4):318-21. doi: 10.1089/acm.2013.0291. Epub 2014 Feb 12.


Objectives: A recent study showed that cupping had therapeutic effects in rats with myocardial infarction and cardiac arrhythmias. The current studyaimed to investigate the possible useful effects of cupping therapy on cardiac rhythm in terms of heart rate variability (HRV).

Materials and methods: Forty healthy participants were included. Classic wet cupping therapy was applied on five points of the back. Recording electrocardiography (to determine HRV) was applied 1 hour before and 1 hour after cupping therapy.

Results: All HRV parameters increased after cupping therapy compared with before cupping therapy in healthy persons.

Conclusions: These results indicate for the first time in humans that cupping might be cardioprotective. In this study, cupping therapy restored sympathovagal imbalances by stimulating the peripheral nervous system.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Bloodletting / methods*
  • Electrocardiography
  • Female
  • Heart Rate / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Medicine, Chinese Traditional / methods*
  • Sympathetic Nervous System / physiology*
  • Young Adult