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Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter April 1, 2021

Effectiveness of wet cupping therapy on relieving pain in patients with chronic migraine: an observational study

Deldar Morad Abdulah ORCID logo EMAIL logo , Hawar Abdulrazaq Mohammedsadiq and Ary Habeeb Mohammed



Chronic migraine is a disabling condition that negatively affects many aspects of migraineurs’ lives. Patients who use pharmacological agents experience various side effects. Some studies have reported clinical improvement following wet cupping therapy in migraine patients. This study examined the effectiveness of wet cupping therapy on headache severity and its complications in patients with migraine.


In this study, a total of 29 patients previously diagnosed with migraine were treated with wet cupping therapy and followed up for headache severity. The severity of pain was measured before therapy, 1 h after therapy, and one month after therapy. The wet cupping therapy was performed by an experienced nurse who was not part of the research team.


The mean age of the patients was 36.17 (Sta. Deviation: 10.74 years; range: 22–68 years), and on average, patients had experienced migraine for 11.14 years. The severity of headache pain was decreased significantly from 6.66 (very intense pain) before cupping therapy to 2.48 (discomforting pain) 1 h after cupping therapy and 0.72 (very mild pain) one month after cupping therapy (p<0.001). The observed complications were skin pigmentation (6.9%), skin scarring (24.1%), and itching in the cupping region (31.0%).


The present study suggests a significant improvement in the severity of headache in migraine patients 1 h and one month after wet cupping therapy.

Corresponding author: Deldar Morad Abdulah, Adult Nursing Department, College of Nursing, University of Duhok, Duhok, Iraq, Phone: +9647507443319, E-mail:


We would like to present our profound thanks to Mr. Othman Ali Khdhr (nurse practitioner) who accepted to perform cupping therapy in his private clinic in Duhok city-Iraqi Kurdistan.

  1. Research funding: The authors were only financial supporters of the study.

  2. Competing interests: Authors state no conflict of interest.

  3. Informed consent: Informed consent has been obtained from all individuals included in this study.

  4. Ethical approval: The ethical clearance of the present study was taken from the local health ethics committee registered as 29052018-4 on 28th October 2018.


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Received: 2020-05-24
Accepted: 2020-08-10
Published Online: 2021-04-01

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