Paradoxical, Cupping-Induced Localized Psoriasis: A Koebner Phenomenon

J Cutan Med Surg. 2015 May-Jun;19(3):320-2. doi: 10.2310/7750.2014.14109. Epub 2015 Mar 13.


Background: Cupping therapy is a traditional Chinese medicine used to heal psoriasis. The Koebner phenomenon is the occurrence of psoriatic lesions at the site of cutaneous injury.

Objective: To describe the first case of biopsy-proven cupping-induced localized psoriasis, an example of the Koebner phenomenon.

Methods: The histopathology of the lesions is described. A brief review of the literature regarding cupping therapy and its efficacy are discussed.

Results: A 45-year-old Asian male presented himself to the dermatology clinic for further treatment of his psoriasis. Four unusually circular plaques on the lower back were discovered. Pathologic diagnosis revealed an early lesion of psoriasis. on further inquiry, the patient admitted to undergoing a recent "cupping" procedure in an attempt to cure his condition.

Conclusion: The efficacy of cupping therapy is controversial, and psoriatic patients may develop localized psoriasis through koebnerization as a result of cupping therapy rather than achieve desirable therapeutic benefits.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Male
  • Medicine, Chinese Traditional / adverse effects*
  • Middle Aged
  • Phototherapy
  • Psoriasis / etiology*
  • Psoriasis / pathology*
  • Psoriasis / therapy