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Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Volume 2016, Article ID 7358918, 7 pages
Research Article

The Effectiveness of Cupping Therapy on Relieving Chronic Neck and Shoulder Pain: A Randomized Controlled Trial

1Institute of Medical Sciences, Tzu Chi University, Hualien 970, Taiwan
2Department of Nursing, Tzu Chi University of Science and Technology, Hualien 970, Taiwan
3Department of Nursing, Chang Gung University of Science and Technology, Taoyuan 333, Taiwan
4Department of Chinese Medicine, Taipei Tzu Chi Hospital, New Taipei City 23142, Taiwan
5School of Post-Baccalaureate Chinese Medicine, Tzu Chi University, Hualien 970, Taiwan
6Chinese Lactation Consultant Association, Hualien 970, Taiwan
7Department of Nursing, Tzu Chi University, Hualien 970, Taiwan

Received 15 October 2015; Accepted 4 January 2016

Academic Editor: Haroon Khan

Copyright © 2016 Lee-Mei Chi et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The research aimed to investigate the effectiveness of cupping therapy (CT) in changes on skin surface temperature (SST) for relieving chronic neck and shoulder pain (NSP) among community residents. A single-blind experimental design constituted of sixty subjects with self-perceived NSP. The subjects were randomly allocated to two groups. The cupping group received CT at SI 15, GB 21, and LI 15 acupuncture points, and the control group received no intervention. Pain was assessed using the SST, visual analog scale (VAS), and blood pressure (BP). The main results were SST of GB 21 acupuncture point raised from 30.6°C to 32.7°C and from 30.7°C to 30.6°C in the control group. Neck pain intensity (NPI) severity scores were reduced from 9.7 to 3.6 in the cupping group and from 9.7 to 9.5 in the control group. The SST and NPI differences between the groups were statistically significant (). One treatment of CT is shown to increase SST. In conjunction with the physiological effect the subjective experience of NSP is reduced in intensity. Further studies are required to improve the understanding and potential long-term effects of CT.