On August 13 2016, the World Journal, a Chinese newspaper in North America wrote two articles on UCLA Center for East-West Medicine and cupping. One of the articles, titled 'Phelps’ Use of Cupping Questioned by a Physician Writer of The Atlantic', provides some explanations on the scientific relevance of cupping.
The World Journal, a Chinese newspaper in North America wrote two articles on UCLA Center for East-West Medicine and cupping.
One of the first article's title roughly translates to 'Cupping Craze and How Cupping Color Marks are Diagnostically Significant to the Prepared Eye' in English and is briefly summarized in a few key points here.
- James Hamblin, a former radiologist and current senior editor of The Atlantic, published an article titled “Please, Michael Phelps, Stop Cupping”
- Hamblin argued in his article that cupping is a treatment that lacks the support of scientific evidence and that its effect is a placebo response so it is a waste of money
- Hamblin wrote that since it is hard to establish a control group in experiments on cupping, there are few large controlled clinical trials for cupping
- He concluded that if you have extra money and time, cupping can make you feel better. Cupping is not in conflict with other scientifically supported treatments. As long as you do not have any blood-related disease, cupping may do you no harm than some pain
- Director and Founder of UCLA Center for East-West Medicine, Dr. Ka-Kit Hui remarks that many of those who discredit cupping and traditional Chinese medicine, whether they are physicians, patients or “experts”, have not had much experience in the field
- Clinical specialist at the center Lan Kao, LAc comments that open discussion on cupping and traditional Chinese medical modalities is important to improve understanding in integrative medicine
- Dr. Hui explains that it is very difficult to study cupping with current scientific methodology due to cost and time restriction
- Pharmaceutical companies are willing to spend millions of dollars in drug research while grants, which fund for traditional healing modalities such as massage and meditation are often limited
- Not only is research in traditional healing modalities sparse, many western surgical treatments, such as the common spinal surgery for Lumbar Stenosis, have not been researched in depth.
- Moreover, the limited existing experiments often conclude with “more research is needed”.
- Lan Kao, LAc also expressed that cupping and acupuncture should not be categorized as 'alternative therapies'
- Alternative therapies are not supported by research and are not examined by the government but the traditional Chinese medicine modalities such as cupping and acupuncture have been integrated and used complementarily with conventional medicine
- In conclusion, Dr Hui emphasizes the importance for TCM practitioners in the US to communicate clearly and explain sufficiently to patients to avoid misconceptions about the respective medical practices and models