Can diabetics have cupping?

Q:  Can diabetics have cupping?

A:  As far as we are aware there is absolutely no reason why a practitioner should not use cupping on a diabetic patient unless there are specific reasons (but not specific to diabetes alone) why someone should not have the treatment. In our guidance to members which supplements our published Code we say:

If you intend to offer cupping as a treatment you should not treat the following areas of the body:

  • on the lower back or abdomen during pregnancy
  • directly over a recently traumatised area
  • over broken or ulcerated skin
  • over oedematous areas
  • over enlarged blood vessels, varicose veins, thromboses, aneurysm or advanced arteriosclerosis
  • over needles on the thorax area except close to the spine where the musculature is thicker
  • over the throat area.
  • You should not use cupping on:
  • patients with organic cardiac problems
  • patients with inflamed organs or patients whose organs have been perforated, eg gastric or duodenal ulcers where bleeding is present
  • patients with severe anaemia or very weak patients
  • patients who are susceptible to bleeding profusely, eg haemophiliacs
  • patients on anti-coagulant medication
  • patients with very thin skin, eg elderly patients, patients on steroids
  • patients with hypertension.

This is the accumulated wisdom of 200 years of Chinese medicine supplemented by an understanding of conditions from a western medical perspective.

As with all of our treatments, we are extremely careful with any modality which we are using for the first time on a patient because one can never be certain of idiosyncratic reactions, but we have never come across anything to suggest that diabetics could not have cupping.