Why I don’t use Cupping

Before you all start ringing me up asking for cupping after seeing Michael Phelps win his 19th OLYMPIC GOLD medal whilst looking like he’d become entangled with an octopus, there’s a couple of things to cover…
Well one thing really…. there’s scant good quality evidence available to support it’s use as an effective tool.

Here’s some outtakes from the research I could find:

1. “In conclusion, this overview of SRs suggests that cupping may be effective for reducing pain. The evidence is insufficient for other indications. All SRs are based on primary studies with a high risk of bias. Therefore, considerable uncertainty remains about the therapeutic value of cupping.
J Acupunct Meridian Stud. 2011 Mar;4(1):1-4. Is cupping an effective treatment? An overview of systematic reviews. Lee MS1, Kim JI, Ernst E.
2. “In conclusion, the results of this systematic review suggest that cupping therapy appears to be effective for various diseases/ conditions, in particular herpes zoster, acne, facial paralysis, and cervical spondylosis. However, the main limitation of our analysis was that nearly all included trials were evaluated as high risk of bias. As such, it is necessary to conduct further RCTs that are of high quality and larger sample sizes in order to draw a definitive conclusion.”
Cao H, Li X, Liu J (2012) An Updated Review of the Efficacy of Cupping Therapy. PLoS ONE 7(2): e31793. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0031793
3. “In conclusion, the results of our systematic review provide some suggestive evidence for the effectiveness of cupping in the management of pain conditions. However, the total number of RCTs included in the analysis and the methodological quality were too low to draw firm conclusions. Future RCTs seem warranted but must overcome the methodological shortcomings of the existing evidence.”
Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2011;2011:467014. doi: 10.1093/ecam/nep035. Epub 2011 Jun 23.Cupping for treating pain: a systematic review.Kim JI1, Lee MS, Lee DH, Boddy K, Ernst E.

As much as possible when I practise,  I try and treat using methods and techniques that are evidence based or evidence informed.
I say ‘as much as possible’ as there is still a lot to be found out about the human body, particularly when it comes to experiencing and dealing with pain; new research appears almost on a daily basis and I’m constantly striving to integrate it into your sessions.
Whilst there appears to be some benefits to using cupping, currently there isn’t enough good quality evidence available for me to justify using it in your treatments, when there is evidence available for other methods. I feel it would be a waste of both your time and your money when it could be better spent elsewhere. But if its of interest to you, lets chat about it in your next treatment!
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