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What exactly is cupping?

June 22, 2020

About the Author

photo of Robert H. Shmerling, MD

Robert H. Shmerling, MD, Senior Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publishing

Dr. Robert H. Shmerling is the former clinical chief of the division of rheumatology at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC), and is a current member of the corresponding faculty in medicine at Harvard Medical School. … See Full Bio
View all posts by Robert H. Shmerling, MD


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Pedro Alves - Food Scientist
October 20, 2016

Harvard promoting an absurd superstition at Science’s expense?!
Unbelievable! How many people were «cured» by that «ancestral technique» with «1000s of years», long before any kind of useful knowledge about the human body inner workings existed? 0?…
How many were saved with vaccines provided by the Scientific Revolution of the last centuries? Billions!
Scrap superstition for ever!

October 10, 2016

Seen this before though had no idea what it is. Thanks for this informative article!

Benjamin Dierauf, LAc
October 9, 2016

As a Licensed Acupuncturist with over 20 years of experience, I have found cupping to be one of my favorite modalities to complement the effects of acupuncture. (And yes, I’ve successfully treated sciatica many times).

The problem with the author’s approach to assessing the effectiveness of cupping (and acupuncture as well) stems from their use of “blinded placebo-controlled trials” instead of outcome studies. Blinded studies work for drugs, but they don’t work for procedures – patients know when they’ve been cupped or needled (or had surgery). Outcome studies that use standardized forms and assessment scales work much better for procedures.

If we really wanted to understand the effects of cupping, we would be doing fundamental research on changes in anatomy and physiology that result from cupping, in addition to the outcome studies. Unfortunately there is no financial/patent incentive for this procedure (as there is with pharmaceutical research) so it’s going to take a lot longer to happen.

October 7, 2016

Cupping has been used for thousands of years and is a great way for health. I got two cupping sets and have used cupping a lot for the last several years and cured many problems the other ways can’t do. Believe in this ancient way of healing for your body’s discomfort and pain!

October 7, 2016

I tried methods similar to this for my Sciatica. I developed it when I was pregnant with our first child, although after spending years at my job hunched over a desk with bad posture I think that had a lot to do with it also then my pregnancy just tipped me over the edge.

I felt like I was 100 years old hobbling around the house! Anyway I found a product reviewed online.

I was skeptical at first as many people are with these kinds of things but I thought what the heck, what do I have to lose and gave it a shot and my only regret I have to say is that I didn’t find it sooner. I am just over 2 months pain and symptom free i’d say, around that amount of time anyway. Now my main task is doing the prevention method the product instructs to make sure my Sciatica never returns – hopefully!!!

Авточасти AutoPower.BG
October 3, 2016

This is really happy story. I will translate this story and i will share it.
Best regard to the writer.

September 30, 2016

I had sciatica for almost 2 years and was unable to sit and walk. Chiropractors, acupuncture didn’t help me at all. The situation was really bad. However, one day by searching google for alternative treatments I found an e-book that was created by former sciatica sufferer. He claimed that he cured his severe sciatica in one week at his home. I was skeptical about it, but I had nothing to lose, so I bought that e-book at:

After receiving it, I didn’t believe that some specific stretches can help me to deal with sciatica, but I started following it and surprisingly after first session my pain was almost gone! It didn’t last long until my sciatica went away permanently. So from now on, I recommend everyone who have sciatica to practice specific stretches and hope for the best.

Jerry Panela
September 30, 2016

Wow! I have the same problem for several years now. There are times that I can barely walk. Please advise on the stretching exercises. Thanks.

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