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Does Cupping Work?

Randomized Control Trial for the Effectiveness of Relieving Chronic Neck and Shoulder Pain


Lee-Mei Chi, 1 , 2 Li-Mei Lin, 3 Chien-Lin Chen, 4 , 5 Shu-Fang Wang, 6 Hui-Ling Lai, 7 and Tai-Chu Peng 1 , 7 , *

Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2016; 2016: 7358918.

Published online 2016 Mar 17. doi: 10.1155/2016/7358918




Let's dig in to this case study looking at cupping for neck and shoulder pain. This particular study was a Randomized Control Trial out of Hualien City, Taiwan, conducted to determine the effectiveness of cupping specifically for neck and shoulder pain. It took place in a nursing research laboratory at the Tzu Chi University of Science and Technology. Click this Link to the Direct Study. This study takes two groups of middle aged to older individuals and who were either diagnosed with or had self-diagnosed chronic neck and shoulder pain. Subjects were randomly selected for each group. The three objective recordings to evaluate effectiveness included the skin surface temperature, visual analog scale (pain scale), and blood pressure.


The Cupping Group received a typical cupping therapy while comfortably sitting in a chair. Glass cups were applied to 3 acupuncture points located between the neck and shoulder: GB 21, SI 15, LI 15. Each cup was placed on the point and remained there for 10 minutes. The results of this study indicate that there was statistically significant improvement in the test group comparted to the control group. According to the pain scale for neck pain intensity, pain decreased by 6.1 in the test group and 0.2 in the control group. For shoulder pain, the pain levels decreased by 5.9 in the test group and by 0.6 in the control group. Both finding were statistically significant. This study demonstrates that Cupping Therapy is a viable and effective treatment option for those suffering from chronic neck and shoulder pain with minimal risk associated with the treatment. They study indicates that more research is needed to substantiate claims of effectiveness.


Cupping is a form of alternative treatment which has been used for thousands of years. More recently, cupping is becoming more common in the United States because of its effect on joint mobility, muscle function, and healing and the fact that cupping has very little to no risks and side effects associated with the treatment. Cupping is a highly beneficial and effective treatment for muscle and joint injury as well as general increased circulation of blood and qi.


From the desk of Dr. Lisette Miller Kondrad. Dr. Miller is a licensed Chiropractic Physician and Board Certified Acupuncture Provider who has been in clinical practice for 7 years. She has helped hundreds of patients via Chiropractic care and Acupuncture. Click here to contact Clark Road Chiropractic Center with any questions or to schedule your appointment! 






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