Wet-cupping induces anti-inflammatory action in response to vigorous exercise among martial arts athletes: A pilot study.
Complement Ther Med. 2021 Jan ;56:102611. Epub 2020 Nov 5. PMID: 33197676
PURPOSE: The aim of the present study was to investigate potential anti-inflammatory effects of wet-cupping prior to a moderate-to-vigorous exercise test among martial arts athletes.
METHODS: Twenty-one male karate athletes voluntarily participated in this study and were randomly divided into 3 groups: vigorous exercise (VE, n = 7), cupping (CT, n = 7) and cupping plus vigorous exercise (VECT, n = 7). Participants in exercise groups performed an exercise test while participants in CT received cupping therapy, and participants in VECT received cupping therapy plus exercise. Inflammatory markers (i.e., interlukin-6, IL-6, and tumor necrosis factor-α, TNF-α) were assessed prior to, immediately, 30 min, and 24 h after cupping therapy, vigorous exercise test, and their combination.
RESULTS: IL-6 values were significantly lower immediately after cupping intervention in CT as compared to baseline (P<0.025). IL-6 significantly increased immediately and 30 min post-exercise in VE in comparison with baseline (P<0.025). IL-6 was also significantly higher at 24 h post-exercise in CTVE as compared to baseline (P<0.025). TNF-α values were significantly lower in CT as compared to VE and CTVE at immediately and 30 min post-exercise (P<0.01). TNF-α significantly decreased immediately and 30 min after cupping intervention in CT as compared to baseline (P<0.01). Conversely, TNF-α significantly increased immediately after exercise in VE as compared to baseline (P<0.025). TNF-α also significantly increased at 30 min and 24 h post-exercise in CTVE in comparison with baseline (P<0.025).
CONCLUSION: Our findings showed that exercise-induced augmentation in inflammatory markers were lower in athletes who received cupping therapy, suggesting such therapy may be an avenue to mitigate the inflammatory response to vigorous exercise among martial arts athletes. A large-scale clinical study is needed to confirm the findings of the present study.