Wet Cupping Reduces Pain and Improves Health-related Quality of Life Among Patients with Migraine: A Prospective Observational Study

Oman Med J. 2019 Mar;34(2):105-109. doi: 10.5001/omj.2019.21.


Objectives: To determine the benefits of wet cupping on pain and health-related quality of life (HRQOL) in adult patients with migraine headaches.

Methods: We conducted a prospective observational study of wet cupping in 128 patients referred to the cupping clinic at King Abdulaziz University Hospital, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia between January 2013 and December 2015. Bloodletting was performed at the base of the head and between the shoulders monthly four times. We assessed migraine headache pain using the visual analog scale (VAS) and the quality of life of patients before and after each cupping session using the World Health Organization Quality of Life assessment instrument.

Results: The mean age of the patients was 40.5±11.3 years with a preponderance of females (n = 114, 89.1%). VAS was averaged at 7 before the procedure and reduced to 3 after wet cupping, both during rest and activity (p ≤ 0.005). Ninety-five patients agreed to complete the quality of life questionnaire. There was a significant improvement in the quality of life after wet cupping treatment in most of the displayed items (p < 0.050). None of the patients reported post-procedure complications.

Conclusions: Wet cupping might be considered a complementary treatment for migraine headache pain relief and improvement to a patient's quality of life.

Keywords: Headache; Health-Related Quality Of Life; Migraine; Pain.