Cupping Therapy: Ancient Chinese Remedy not just for Olympic Stars

Phelps isn’t the only one with circular bruises. 
Cupping therapy is the new fad and has gained a lot of attention since viewers of the Rio Olympic games saw big red bruises all over world known gold medalist Michael Phelps body. Athletes, Celebrities, and even everyday people use this method as a form of recovering and relieving sore muscles by stimulating blood flow and decreasing muscle tension. A study was done comparing the effectiveness of 10 different traditional Chinese medicines on patients that had chronic neck and lower back pain. For neck pain, the researchers studied cupping versus waitlist pain, standard medical care, heating pad application, and progressive muscle relaxation. The studies for lower back pain compared cupping to waitlist, usual care, and medications. The study included much statistical data that was hard to comprehend and put into simpler terms, but the results and conclusions showed that cupping therapy in patients with chronic non-specific neck pain “could be efficacious in pain and disability…in the immediate term” (Yuan, et all. 2015). Cupping is not only used for sore muscles, it is used as a detox to refresh veins and arteries. There have not been many scientific studies showing if cupping therapy works so there is a debate if it is an effective treatment.


 Yuan, Q., Guo, T., Liu, L., Sun, F., & Zhang, Y. (2015). Traditional Chinese Medicine for Neck Pain and Low Back Pain: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Plos ONE, 10(2), 1-37. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0117146

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