Medical Studies into Cupping
There are numerous remedies that are anecdotally known to be effective, however proving them is another question. For example garlic or ginger is ‘known’ to be good for you historically, however a scientifc study to prove that claim requires a significant amount of funding and research. Similarly Hijama is known to have helped many people – but there is no single, definitive or universally accepted study, regarding its benfits. Below are some general studies that have been conducted which do indicate its effectiveness. However, there is room for more thorough research.
Dr. Mohamed M. Reslan Hssanien (Reslan M.) Researcher of Complementary and Alternative Medicine( CAM) Outpatient Department. Hamad General Hospital. Clinical associate, Primary Health Care Department Hamad Medical Corporation. Dr. Abbas F. Ahmed Asst Chairman Anesthesia ICU. Pain clinic. Anesthesia ICU Depart H M C. Dr. Samar Al Emadi Consultant Rheumatology Department HMC. and Dr Mohammed Hammoudeh Consultant Medicine & Rheumatology. Medicine & Rheumatology Department H M C
Objective: To test the effect of cupping therapy in treating chronic headache and chronic back pain.
Background: Cupping therapy “Al heijamah” is a very common non-conventional therapy in the Arabic societies that has been used in the treatment of a wide range of conditions, such as hypertension, rheumatic conditions, ranging from arthritis, sciatica and back pain, migraine, anxiety, and general physical and mental well-being.
Methods: This study was a clinical intervention (pre and post design) utilizing non- conventional therapy (AL Heijamah) for treatment of patients with chronic back pain or chronic headache, with three months follow up at the Out patients Department (OPD) of Hamad General Hospital (HGH) Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC), State of Qatar, from May 2007 to December 2007, to show the efficacy of that procedure on chronic pain using Visual Analog pain scale, pre and post intervention.
Results: The total number of the participants was eighty six, slightly more than half of them were male (51.2%). The majority were non Qatari (72.1%); thirty seven of them had headache and forty nine of them had back pain. Most of the participants were treated with wet cup therapy (98.8%) and only one of them was treated with dry cup. Fifty two of the participants had only one session of cupping while only five of them completed the four sessions. The pain score for patients with headache was decreased from eight to four after cupping therapy followed by intermittent periods of fluctuation of pain, scored from four to five for around five weeks, then it maintained constant at four score till the end of the follow up period. Meanwhile the pain scale for patients with low back pain decreased from seven to three after two weeks and stayed constant till the end of the twelve weeks.
Conclusion: The effect of cupping therapy (Al heijamah) for chronic headache and back pain has been studied and the results revealed significant improvements in participants as a result of cupping therapy. Further studies with larger samples, for longer duration of follow up and use of a comparison group are recommended.
The effectiveness of wet-cupping for non-specific low back pain in Iran. A randomized controlled trial.
Results: Wet-cupping care was associated with clinically significant improvement at 3-month follow-up. The experimental group who received wet-cupping care had significantly lower levels of pain intensity ([95% confidence interval (CI) 1.72 – 2.60] mean difference = 2.17, p < 0.01), pain-related disability (95%) Complementary Therapies in Medicine (2009) 17, 9 - 15 available at www.sciencedirect.com Journal homepage. Immunomodulatory Effects of Bloodletting Cupping Therapy in patients with Rheumatoid Arthritis RA is a chronic inflammatory systemic disease that causes irreversible joint destruction. nGroup I - Conventionally Medicinally treated nGroup II - Combined treatment - Blood Letting Cupping every 4 weeks Conclusion: BLC combined with conventional therapy, exerts marked improvement on the clinical condition of the patient. Especially in the analogue of pain scale, reduces the laboratory markers of disease activity and it modulates the immune cellular conditions, particularly of innate immune response NK cell % and adaptive cellular immune response SIL-2R.
M.Ahmed Sahbaa et al – Egyptian Journal of Immunology Vol.12 (2) 2005 – page 39-51.
An investigation into the effect of Cupping Therapy as a treatment for Anterior Knee Pain and its potential role in Health Promotion.
Objective: To investigate the effect of Cupping Therapy at a patho-physiological level for anterior knee pain.
Method: Experimental survey utilising a clinical trial and a questionnaire.
Results: There was a statistically significant difference between the level of pain, well being and Range of Motion for patients with anterior knee pain pre and post Cupping. (P <0.05). Conclusions: The efficacy of the treatment for Anterior Knee Pain, well being and range of motion has been researched and results reveal improvements in participants as a result of Cupping Therapy. It is recommended that further studies are conducted with larger study samples and of longer duration.
The Internet Journal of Alternative Medicine. 2007. Volume 4 Number 1
The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine The Effect of Wet Cupping on Serum Lipid Concentrations of Clinically Healthy Young Men: A Randomized Controlled Trial:
Results: A substantial decrease in LDL cholesterol (p < 0.0001) and in the LDL/HDL ratio (p < 0.0001) was found in the treated group compared to the control. There were no significant changes in serum triglyceride between groups (p > 0.05). Although there were no statistically significant variations in total cholesterol and HDL cholesterol (p > 0.05), a 7% decrease in total cholesterol and 3% increase in HDL cholesterol may be clinically important.
Conclusions: Wet cupping may be an effective method of reducing LDL cholesterol in men and consequently may have a preventive effect against atherosclerosis.
Hijaamah (Wet Cupping) In the Treatment of Tension and Migraine HeadachesAhmadi A, Schwebel DC, Rezaei M. The efficacy of wet-cupping in the treatment of tension and migraine headache. Am J Chin Med. 2008;36(1):37-44.
Wet-cupping is an ancient medical technique still used in several contemporary societies, but little empirical study has been devoted to test its efficacy to treat tension and migraine headache. Using a pre-post research design, 70 patients with chronic tension or migraine headache were treated with wet-cupping. Three primary outcome measures were considered at the baseline and 3 months following treatment: headache severity, days of headache per month, and use of medication. Results suggest that, compared to the baseline, mean headache severity decreased by 66% following wet-cupping treatment. Treated patients also experienced the equivalent of 12.6 fewer days of a headache per month. We conclude that wet-cupping leads to clinical relevant benefits for primary care patients with a headache. Possible mechanisms of wet-cupping’s efficacy, as well as directions for future research are discussed.
Brachialgia paraesthetica nocturna can be relieved by “wet cupping” – Results of a randomized pilot study.
[My paper] Rainer Lüdtke, Uwe Albrecht, Rainer Stange, Bernhard Uehleke Karl und Veronica Carstens-Stiftung, Am Deimelsberg 36, 45276 Essen, Germany.
BACKGROUND: Centuries ago cupping was one of the most used medical therapies worldwide but it is now regarded as an antiquated and unsafe treatment. Nevertheless it is widely used especially in Germany and China.
OBJECTIVE: To investigate the effectiveness of “wet cupping” of a defined connective tissue area (over the Musculus trapezius) in patients suffering from brachialgia paresthetica nocturna. DESIGN: Monocenter, randomised, controlled, sequential clinical trial.
SETTING: Section of pain management at the District Hospital of Rüdersdorf, Germany.
PATIENTS: Brachialgia-patients of both sexes without age restictions were eligible if they suffered from chronical tonsillar irritations and showed pathologic indurations of the connective tissue area.
INTERVENTIONS: The active group was “wet cupped” once, i.e. the skin first was scarified and then blood was drawn by applying vacuum cupping glasses. The control group was left untreated.
MAIN OUTCOME MEASURE: Pre- to post-treatment change of brachialgia severeness, calculated from 1-week averages of the means of three subscales (pain, tingling and numbness), each assessed on a -10 numeric analogue scale.
RESULTS: N=20 patients were randomised (13 women, median age 47 years). Treatment effects can be found in the active (-2.3+/-1.9 score points) but not in the control group (+ .5+/-1. points; p= .002; triangle test). The results are supported by secondary outcome criteria. Adverse events were not documented in any patient.
CONCLUSIONS: This study suggests short-term effects of a single wet cupping therapy, which remain at least for 1 week. As the trial lacks of an adequate and blinded placebo therapy the findings are potentially biased. Complement Ther Med. 2006 Dec ;14 (4):247-253 1710569
Effects of drug cupping therapy on immune function in chronic asthmatic bronchitis patients during protracted period.
[My paper] Cai-qing Zhang, Tie-jun Liang, Wei Zhang Shandong Provincial Hospital of Shandong University, Jinan. To observe the clinical effect of drug cupping therapy (DCT, cupping therapy with pingchuan ointment made by the authors themselves in the cups) on chronic asthmatic bronchitis (CAB) during the protracted period, and explore its effect on immune function.
METHODS: Seventy-seven patients were randomly divided into two groups:the treated group (n=40) treated by orally taken Liuwei Dihuang Pill (LDP) and DCT and the control group (n=37) with LDP and common cupping therapy without drug in cups. The changes of T-lymphocyte subset, levels of interferon-gamma (IFN-gamma), interleukin (IL), immunoglobulin (Ig), complement 3 and 4 (C3 and C4) were detected before and after treatment.
RESULTS: The total effective rate was higher in the treated group than that in the control group (90. % vs. 59.5%, P < .01). The levels of CD4+, CD4+/CD8+, IL-2, IFN-gamma, C3, C4, IgA, IgG and IgM increased, while the levels of IgE, IL-4, IL-10 and CD8+ decreased after treatment in both groups (P < .05 or P < .01), the improvements were better in the treated group than that in the control group (P < .05). CONCLUSION: DCT shows better curative effects than that of common cupping therapy without drug, it could improve the cellular and humoral immunity in CAB patients.
Cui Jin and Zhang Guangqi, A survey of thirty years’ clinical application of cupping, Journal of Traditional Chinese Medicine 1989; 9(3): 151 – 154 Ju Huadong, 30 cases of frozen shoulder treated by needling and cupping, International Journal of Clinical Acupuncture 1998; 9(3): 327 – 328. Zhang Zhilong, Observation on therapeutic effects of blood-letting puncture with cupping in acute trigeminal neuralgia, Journal of Traditional Chinese Medicine 1997; 17(4): 272 – 274. Chen Decheng, Jiang Nawei, and Cong Xin, 47 cases of acne treated by prick-bloodletting plus cupping, Journal of Traditional Chinese Medicine 1993; 13(3): 185 – 186. Wang Huaiping, Treatment of urticaria with cupping, Journal of Traditional Chinese Medicine 1993; 13(2): 105. Yin Ying, Blood-letting at a single point for treatment of acute diseases, Journal of Traditional Chinese Medicine 1997; 17(3): 214 – 216.