Table 1

Characteristics of the included studies

Study IDCountryDiseaseNumber of participantsAge (years, mean±SD)Methods of interventionComparisonCupping sitesNumber of cuppingFollow-up periodRelevant outcomes
(primary/secondary)
Cupping versus control (sole)
 Versus waitlist (no intervention)
  Arslan et al 32 TurkeyComputer users diagnosed minimum three neck painEG: 20
CG: 20
EG: 26.0±3.5
CG: 26.0±3.8
Dry cupping (moving)No interventionUpper shoulder and neck region10After treatmentVAS
  Chi et al 29 TaiwanWork-related chronic neck shoulder painEG: 30
CG: 30
EG: 43.6±6.3
CG: 42.5±5.8
Dry cuppingNo interventionSI15, GB21, LI151After treatmentVAS
  Lauche et al 30 GermanyChronic non-specific neck painEG: 22
CG: 24
EG: 26.1±4.2
CG: 25.1±3.0
Dry cuppingWaiting list control groupDescending and transverse parts of the trapezius muscle5After treatmentVAS, NDI, SF-36
  Saha et al 20 GermanyChronic neck painEG: 25
CG: 25
EG: 54.3±8.6
CG: 53.3±11.1
Dry cuppingWaiting list control groupFrom the occiput towards the midlevel thoracic spine as well as over the upper trapezius muscle5Postcupping after 3 weeksVAS, POM, NDI, SF-36
  Lauche et al 31 GermanyChronic non-specific neck painEG: 22
CG: 23
EG: 54.8±3.2
CG: 29.3±2.9
Wet cuppingWaiting list control groupDescending parts of the trapezius muscle1Postcupping after 3 daysVAS, NDI, SF-36
 Versus active control (dry cupping)
  Sui and
  Cupping35*
ChinaCervical radiculopathyEG: 120
CG: 120
NRDry cupping (moving)TractionAcupoints at bladder meridian and governor vessel20After treatmentVAS, POM, NDI, SF-36
  Cramer et al 22 GermanyNon-specific neck pain for at least the previous 3 monthsEG: 24
CG: 24
EG: 44.46
CG: 47.88
Dry cuppingStandard medical careNeck and shoulder lesion3–4After treatmentVAS, NDI, SF-36
  Kim et al 24 KoreaVDT workers with neck painEG: 20
CG: 20
EG: 25.5 (median)
CG: 28 (median)
Dry cuppingHeating pad groupGV14, GV16, GV15, GV12, GB20, GB21, LI17, SI11, SI12, SI13, SI14, SI15, BL10, BL11, BL12, BL13, BL14, BL15, BL16, BL17, BL41, BL42, BL43, BL44, EX-HN1567 weeksNRS, NDI, EQ-5D
  Lauche et al 38 GermanyChronic non-specific neck painEG: 30
CG: 31
EG: 54.5±12.3
CG: 53.7±13.4
Dry cuppingProgressive muscle relaxation (PMR)NR2412 weeksVAS, NDI, SF-36
 Versus active control (wet cupping)
  Liu et al 34 ChinaCervical spondylosisEG: 20
CG: 20
NRWet cuppingTuinaGV14, Ashi points3After treatmentVAS, effective rate, tenderness
  Mou et al 26*China
(Multi centre)
Cervical radiculopathyEG: 68
CG: 56
EG: 46.4±11.6
CG: 47.8±11.9
Wet cuppingMAGV14, GB214–12After treatmentVAS, NDI, CAS
  Yin and Wang27 ChinaCervical spondylosisEG: 56
CG: 55
EG: 32.13±7.87
CG: 35.24±6.67
Wet cuppingMAEX-B2, BL11, GB21, Ashi points10After treatmentVAS, effective rate
  Zhou et al 28 ChinaCervical spondylopathyEG: 100
CG: 100
NRWet cuppingMAAshi points, EX-B2, GB2110After treatmentVAS, effective rate
  Jin et al 23 ChinaNeck type cervical spondylosisEG: 33
CG: 33
EG: 31.81±8.30
CG: 30.48±9.74
Wet cuppingMAUpper shoulder and neck region5After treatmentVAS, NPQ, effective rate
  Yin et al 21 ChinaCervical spondylosisEG: 47
CG: 48
EG: 45.68±10. 46, CG: 47. 29±8.03Wet cuppingAcupunctureEX-B2, SI15,
GB21, SJ5
4After treatmentNPQ
Cupping with usual care versus usual care (add-on)
 Dry cupping
  Cai and Mao36 ChinaChronic neck painEG: 60
CG: 60
EG: 45.48±10.9
CG: 45.7±11.1
Dry cuppingMAEX-B212After treatmentSF-MPQ
  Su et al 33 ChinaNeck pain after sleepingEG: 29
CG: 29
EG: 30.72±6.69
CG: 31.76±7.16
Dry cuppingMAUpper shoulder and neck region3After treatmentVAS, effective rate
  Sui and
  Cupping35*
ChinaCervical radiculopathyEG: 120
CG: 120
NRDry cupping (moving)+tractionTractionAcupoints at bladder meridian and governor vessel20After treatmentVAS
 Wet cupping
  Mou et al 26*China
(multicentre)
Cervical radiculopathyEG: 59
CG: 56
EG: 45.4±11.6
CG: 47.8±11.9
Wet cupping + MAMAEX-B2, BL11, GB21, Ashi points10After treatmentVAS, NDI, CAS
  Jiang et al 19 ChinaMyofascial pain syndrome of neck and shoulderEG: 30
CG: 30
EG: 21±3
CG: 22±3
Wet cupping + MAMAAshi points5After treatmentVAS, effective rate
  • *Is a three-armed study, that is, cupping group, control group, cupping plus control group.

  • CAS, clinical assessment scale; CG, control group; EA, electroacupuncture; EG, experimental group; EQ-5D, EuroQol 5-Dimension; MA, manual acupuncture; NDI, Neck Disability Index; NPQ, Neck Pain Questionnaire; NR, not reported; SF-MPQ, Short Form McGill Pain Questionnaire; SF-36, 36-Item Short Form Health Survey; VAS, visual analogue scale; VDT, video display terminal; POM, pain on movement.