The Effectiveness of Cupping Therapy on Relieving Chronic Neck and Shoulder Pain: A Randomized Controlled Trial

Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2016;2016:7358918. doi: 10.1155/2016/7358918. Epub 2016 Mar 17.


The research aimed to investigate the effectiveness of cupping therapy (CT) in changes on skin surface temperature (SST) for relieving chronic neck and shoulder pain (NSP) among community residents. A single-blind experimental design constituted of sixty subjects with self-perceived NSP. The subjects were randomly allocated to two groups. The cupping group received CT at SI 15, GB 21, and LI 15 acupuncture points, and the control group received no intervention. Pain was assessed using the SST, visual analog scale (VAS), and blood pressure (BP). The main results were SST of GB 21 acupuncture point raised from 30.6°C to 32.7°C and from 30.7°C to 30.6°C in the control group. Neck pain intensity (NPI) severity scores were reduced from 9.7 to 3.6 in the cupping group and from 9.7 to 9.5 in the control group. The SST and NPI differences between the groups were statistically significant (P < 0.001). One treatment of CT is shown to increase SST. In conjunction with the physiological effect the subjective experience of NSP is reduced in intensity. Further studies are required to improve the understanding and potential long-term effects of CT.