Al-Bedah et al from the National Center of Complementary and Alternative Medicine, Saudi Arabia and Tanta University reviewed the possible mechanisms of action of (CT) from the modern medicine perspective and offer possible explanations of its effects ​(Al-Bedah et al. 2019)​ . The research team screened 223 articles from English literature in PubMed, Cochrane Library and Google Scholar.

  • Pain reduction and changes in biomechanical properties of the skin could be explained by “Pain-Gate Theory”, “Diffuse Noxious Inhibitory Controls” and “Reflex zone theory”.
  • Muscle relaxation, changes in local tissue structures and increase in blood circulation might be explained by “Nitric Oxide theory”.
  • Immunological effects and hormonal adjustments might be attributed to “Activation of immune system theory”.
  • The release of toxins and removal of wastes and heavy metals might be explained by “Blood Detoxification Theory”.

These theories may overlap or work interchangeably to produce various therapeutic effects in specific ailments and diseases. Apparently, no single theory exists to explain the whole effects of cupping.

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  1. Al-Bedah, Abdullah M.N., Ibrahim S. Elsubai, Naseem Akhtar Qureshi, Tamer Shaban Aboushanab, Gazzaffi I.M. Ali, Ahmed Tawfik El-Olemy, Asim A.H. Khalil, Mohamed K.M. Khalil, and Meshari Saleh Alqaed. 2019. “The Medical Perspective of Cupping Therapy: Effects and Mechanisms of Action.” Journal of Traditional and Complementary Medicine, April, 90–97. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jtcme.2018.03.003.