[OBJECTIVES] The purpose of this study was to analyze the effects of brief dry cupping on muscle soreness of the gastrocnemius muscle and range of motion (ROM) in the ankle. [METHODS] Thirty-six participants (age=29±10 yrs, ht=173.8±10.3 cm, wt=75.3±15.9 kg) were randomly assigned to three groups: A (no exercise), B (bilateral heel drops to exhaustion), and C (right unilateral heel drops to exhaustion). Dorsiflexion ROM was assessed bilaterally for all groups. All participants received the cupping protocol on the right gastrocnemius, but C also received it on the left. Dry cupping was applied using four two-inch cups in four quadrants on the calf for 90 seconds. Soreness was reported using a 10-point VAS scale at 24- and 48-hours. Repeated measures ANOVAs were used to examine the effects of cupping on soreness and range of motion, respectively. Alpha was set at 0.05 for all tests. [RESULTS] A significant difference in muscle soreness existed between right (3.58±1.31 VAS) and left (2.83±1.02 VAS) calves for group B at 24 hours (p = 0.029). No other significant differences existed between calves that were and were not cupped (p > 0.05). No significant differences in ROM occurred between any conditions (p > 0.05). [CONCLUSION] Ninety seconds of dry cupping on the calf may reduce 24-hr muscle soreness after performing heel drops to exhaustion, but has no effect on ROM.
Conflicts of Interest