Is cupping therapy effective among athletes?

Cupping therapy has re-emerged as a potential approach to boost post-exercise metabolic recovery, reduce pain, and improve range of motion by increasing local microcirculation. But what does science tell us about the effectiveness or safety of cupping? A new systematic review that examines the results of eleven clinical trials encompassing nearly 500 participants is published in The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine.

Despite some reports of benefits, including some related to reduced pain and disability, the authors found the reports uneven and found a high risk of bias in the trial designs. They therefore determined that no conclusive recommendations for or against the value of cupping in sports performance can be made until further trials are carried out.

About Author:

Quintus van Rensburg is an Athletics South Africa Certified Coach, registered with Western Province Athletics. He serves on the Western Province Athletics Statistics Standing Committee and on the Bellville Athletics Management Committee as records official, statistician and coach. He competes in road running in distances ranging from 10 km to 100 km, with a focus on endurance events.

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