Award Date

May 2018

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Kinesiology and Nutrition Sciences

First Committee Member

Kara Radzak

Second Committee Member

James Navalta

Third Committee Member

Tedd Girouard

Fourth Committee Member

Catherine Turner

Number of Pages



Context: Flexibility is an important aspect of physical performance and when deficient can result in an increased opportunity for injury. Cupping therapy is an ancient technique that has recently seen a growth in popularity in Western Orthopedic medicine as a soft tissue mobilization technique. Most cupping therapy research explores the use of cupping therapy for treating headache, herpes zoster, asthma, cough, and other non-orthopedic pathologies. Cupping therapy has had positive results on an injured population for increasing flexibility. Objective: To identify if cupping therapy applied passively for 10 minutes results in an increase in flexibility, and to identify if there is a placebo effect with the sham cupping treatment. Design: Double-blinded randomized repeated measures trial. Setting: laboratory. Participants: 40 semi-active participants were recruited (age: 23.52 ± 3.50 years, height: 171.89 ± 9.23 cm, mass: 72.864 ± 14.90 kg) with hamstring range of motion less than 80 degrees. Exclusion criteria included previous cupping therapy experience, allergies to adhesive, any lower extremity injury in the past 6 months, previous cupping experience and cupping therapy contraindications: pregnancy, sunburn, rash, contusions. Methods: Participants reported to the Sports Injury Research Clinic on three occasions, on the first occasion participants completed informed consent and questionnaire, followed by the secondary investigator performing the pre-treatment measurement, then the primary investigator performed one of three randomly assigned treatment options, cupping, sham, and control. Treatment was for 10 minutes with the patient laying prone and relaxed. Then the participant underwent range of motion testing post treatment, and after 10 minutes of laying relaxed. Participants returned on two other occasions with at least one week in between to perform the other treatment conditions. Main Outcome Measurements: Hamstring range of motion to measure flexibility, measured three times, pre-treatment, post-treatment, and 10 minutes post-treatment. An active straight leg raise was performed 4 times for each measurement with the average of the last 2 was taken as the measurement. A 3x3x2 ANOVA in SPSS was utilized for data analysis. Results: There was no statistically significant difference between cupping and control conditions (p=0.004). Cupping had a significantly higher range of motion at pre-treatment (p=0.032), post-treatment (p=0.017), and 10-minutes (p=0.006). There was no significant difference in the interaction between Condition, Time, and Sex (p=0.263). There was no significant interaction between Condition and Sex (p=0.230), Time and Condition (p=0.443), and Time and Sex (p=0.064). Conclusion: Cupping therapy applied to a healthy individual for 10 minutes does not create an increase in hamstring flexibility. Word Count: 410 words


Flexibility; Myofascial Decompression; Therapeutic Interventions


History | Kinesiology

File Format


Degree Grantor

University of Nevada, Las Vegas




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