Author(s): Lee MS, Kim JI, Kong JC, Lee DH, Shin BC
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Abstract OBJECTIVES: The aims of this study were to develop a sham cupping device and to validate its use as a placebo control for healthy volunteers. METHODS: A sham cupping device was developed by establishing a small hole to reduce the negative pressure after suction such that inner pressure could not be maintained in the cup. We enrolled 34 healthy participants to evaluate the validity of the sham cupping device as a placebo control. The participants were informed that they would receive either real or sham cupping and were asked which treatment they thought they had received. Other sensations and adverse events related to cupping therapy were investigated. RESULTS: 17 patients received real cupping therapy and 17 received sham cupping. The two groups felt similar sensations. There was a tendency for subjects to feel that real cupping created a stronger sensation than sham cupping (48.9±21.4 vs 33.3±20.3 on a 100mm visual analogue scale). There were only mild to moderate adverse events observed in both groups. CONCLUSION: We developed a new sham cupping device that seems to provide a credible control for real cupping therapy by producing little or no negative pressure. This conclusion was supported by a pilot study, but more rigorous research is warranted regarding the use of this device.
This article was published in Acupunct Med
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