Publication Date


Date of Final Oral Examination (Defense)


Type of Culminating Activity


Degree Title

Master of Science in Kinesiology



Major Advisor

David Hammons, Ed.D.


Phil Ford, Ph.D.


Tyler Brown, Ph.D.


Yong Gao, Ph.D.


Introduction- Cupping therapy originated in Eastern medicine practices, became renowned in international sports, and is now utilized as a therapeutic device for treating musculoskeletal issues in a wide variety of physically active individuals. As with any modality, there is a question of efficacy. This study focused on the effect of cupping therapy on muscle stiffness (MS), active dorsiflexion (DF), and perceived pain. Purpose- The purpose of this study was to examine changes in MS, active DF, and perceived pain on the medial gastrocnemius following a cupping therapy treatment. Methods- Twenty physically active, healthy participants completed an exercise protocol to induce delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) on both lower legs. Participants received a 5-minute cupping treatment on the dominant leg and 5-minutes of rest on the non-dominant leg. DF, MS, and perceived pain were measured at baseline, pre-treatment, post treatment, and 5-minutes post treatment on the medial gastrocnemius muscle. Statistical Analysis- A repeated measures ANOVA was used to analyze the main effect and interaction of the conditions and time. Results- Active DF was significantly different from baseline to pre-treatment, post treatment, and 5-minute post treatment (p < 0.001; p < 0.001, p=0.01). Pre-treatment and 5-minute post treatment DF were also significantly different (p=0.05). Active DF was significantly higher at the post treatment and 5-minute post treatment measurements. MS was not significant at any of the time points (p=0.398) nor between conditions (p=0.140). Baseline pain was significantly different than pre-treatment, post treatment, and 5-minute post treatment measurements (p < 0.001, p < 0.001, p < 0.001). Pre-treatment pain was significantly different than post treatment and 5-minute post treatment (p=0.09, p < 0.001). Post treatment pain was also significantly different than 5-minute post treatment (p=0.07). Conclusion- After a cupping treatment, active DF was improved in the experimental leg. Participants also reported pain improved following the cupping treatment. No significant difference in MS was observed following the treatment. Thus, a single cupping therapy treatment is a useful modality for individuals experiencing pain and restrictions in ROM.