Wet Cupping for Headaches & Migraines

Wet Cupping for Headaches & Migraines

The efficacy of wet cupping in the treatment of tension and migraine headache

by Alireza Ahmadi,* David C. Schwebel† and Mansour Rezaei*

* Kermanshah University of Medical Sciences, Iran
† University of Alabama at Birmingham, USA

Published in The American Journal of Chinese Medicine, 2008, Vol. 36, No. 1, 37–44


Wet-cupping is an ancient medical technique still used in several contemporary societies, but little empirical study has been devoted to test its efficacy to treat tension and migraine headache.

Using a pre-post research design, 70 patients with chronic tension or migraine headache were treated with wet-cupping.  Three primary outcome measures were considered at the baseline and 3 months following treatment: headache severity, days of headache per month, and use of medication.  Results suggest that, compared to the baseline, mean headache severity decreased by 66% following wet-cupping treatment.  Treated patients also experienced the equivalent of 12.6 fewer days of headache per month.  We conclude that wet-cupping leads to clinical relevant benefits for primary care patients with headache.  Possible mechanisms of wet-cupping’s efficacy, as well as directions for future research are discussed.

The full article can be found at: Ahmadi, A. et al. (2008) The efficacy of wet cupping in the treatment of tension and migraine headache.

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Dr. Mee Lain Ling