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Journal of Integrative Medicine ›› 2015, Vol. 13 ›› Issue (6): 391-399.doi: 10.1016/S2095-4964(15)60197-2

• Research Article • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Effects of wet-cupping on blood pressure in hypertensive patients: A randomized controlled trial

Nouran A. Aleyeidia, Khaled S. Aserib, Shadia M. Matboulic, Albaraa A. Sulaiamanid, Sumayyah A. Kobeisye   

  1. a College of Medicine, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ 85724-5017, USA
    b Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ 85724-5153, USA
    c Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ 85724-5163, USA
    d Aviation Medicine Department, Medical Services Directorate of Security Aviation Command, Jeddah 21333, Saudi Arabia
    e Paediatric Department, Dr. Soliman Fakeeh Hospital, Jeddah 21589, Saudi Arabia
  • Received:2015-03-18 Accepted:2015-06-09 Online:2015-11-10 Published:2015-11-15

Although cupping remains a popular treatment modality worldwide, its efficacy for most diseases, including hypertension, has not been scientifically evaluated.

We aimed to determine the efficacy of wet-cupping for high blood pressure, and the incidence of the procedure's side effects in the intervention group.

Design, setting, participants and interventions
This is a randomized controlled trial conducted in the General Practice Department at King Abdulaziz University Hospital, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, between May 2013 and February 2014. There were two groups (40 participants each): intervention group undergoing wet-cupping (hijama) in addition to conventional hypertension treatment, and a control group undergoing only conventional hypertension treatment. Three wet-cupping sessions were performed every other day.

Main outcome measure
The mean systolic and diastolic blood pressures were measured using a validated automatic sphygmomanometer. The follow-up period was 8 weeks.

Wet-cupping provided an immediate reduction of systolic blood pressure. After 4 weeks of follow-up, the mean systolic blood pressure in the intervention group was 8.4 mmHg less than in the control group (P = 0.046). After 8 weeks, there were no significant differences in blood pressures between the intervention and control groups. In this study, wet-cupping did not result in any serious side effects.

Wet-cupping therapy is effective for reducing systolic blood pressure in hypertensive patients for up to 4 weeks, without serious side effects. Wet-cupping should be considered as a complementary hypertension treatment, and further studies are needed.

Trial registration Identifier NCT01987583.
Dutch Trial Register NTR3132.

Key words: Blood pressure, Hypertension, Cupping therapy, Randomized controlled trials

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