Effect of Cupping Therapy on Muscle Tenderness in Collegiate Baseball Players Compared to Sham Treatment: A Randomized, Single-Blinded Trial
Purpose: The purpose of this study was to examine the effects of cupping therapy on muscular tenderness in the triceps surae of collegiate baseball players when compared to a control and sham treatment conditions. Methods: 20 collegiate baseball players (age= 22 ± 2 years, height= 186.8 ± 6.9 cm, weight= 88.6 ± 8.5 kg) participated in this study. Subjects were randomly assigned to either the treatment or sham treatment group. A mark was placed 10-cm superior to the musculotendinous junction of the Achilles tendon and the gastrocnemius on both legs. The treatment or sham treatment was then applied over the mark on the right leg for 15-minutes, with the left leg serving as a control. Muscle tenderness was measured in both legs with a handheld algometer at baseline and after treatment. An independent samples t-test was performed to determine differences in changes to muscle tenderness between the cupping therapy and sham cupping therapy groups. Paired samples t-tests were used to determine differences in changes to muscle tenderness between cupping therapy and sham cupping therapy groups and their respective controls. Results: A significant difference in reduction of muscle tenderness was found between the cupping therapy treatment group and the respective control group (treatment = 1.37 ± 0.54, treatment control = 0.5 ± 1.5, p = 0.009). A significant difference in reduction of tenderness was also noted between the cupping therapy treatment group, and the sham cupping therapy treatment group (treatment = 1.37 ± 0.54, sham = -0.37, p < 0.001). Conclusion: A single 15-minute cupping therapy treatment can decrease muscle tenderness at the triceps surae when compared to both a control and sham treatment condition. These findings are in keeping with previous studies, with the added benefit of attempting to control for a placebo effect and bias during statistical analysis. Keywords: Cupping Therapy, Myofascial Decompression, Muscle Tenderness, Algometry
Figure 1. Cupping therapy over the gastrocnemius.
Figure 2.jpg (1464 kB)
Figure 2. Sham cupping therapy over the gastrocnemius.
Figure 3.jpg (1872 kB)
Figure 3. Handheld algometry on the gastrocnemius.
Cage, Andrew; Trail, MPA, LAT, ATC, Laurel; Galbraith, Robert M.; Cox, Carson; and Warner, Brandon J.
"Effect of Cupping Therapy on Muscle Tenderness in Collegiate Baseball Players Compared to Sham Treatment: A Randomized, Single-Blinded Trial,"
Journal of Sports Medicine and Allied Health Sciences: Official Journal of the Ohio Athletic Trainers Association: Vol. 8:
4, Article 1.
Available at: https://scholarworks.bgsu.edu/jsmahs/vol8/iss4/1