I came across this blog post on the APTA website. Couple of paragraphs should out to me:
“As physical therapists, we want to maintain our position as evidence-based experts in the restoration, maintenance, and promotion of optimal physical function. To do so we must continue to uphold the value of well-established and rigorously investigated interventions in the face of the latest fascination in sports medicine.”
This basically suggests we should shy away from treatment like cupping, because there is no strong evidence to support it. Most things we do as physical therapists have no strong evidence to support it. Evidence Based Practice to me means a combination of my experience, patient values and research. Cupping meets that criteria: 1) My patients want it and report improvement. 2) I often do not have to use any other (more aggressive) forms of manual therapy that may even be contra-indicated; so patients are getting better with less aggressive treatment methods and become less dependent on me, while reaching their desired outcomes. So just because there is no strong evidence, we can not say it’s not Evidence-based as it meets 2/3 criteria.
“an underlying theme of the Choosing Wisely campaign is the benefit of active therapy over passive treatments”
Who says that cupping has to be passive? It can be and should be incorporated during exercises, like stretching and PNF-based treatments.
“we must be cautious that the general population doesn’t see cupping as a silver-bullet treatment for musculoskeletal conditions”
Education regarding our proposed treatment should be done first and foremost. Not just for cupping, for but for everything else. Any form of Manual Therapy has a transient effect. It allows patients to move more efficient and they will be able to exercise better and because they may have less pain should be able to make changes in their ADLs, work duties and sports activities; because that is where we will make the real changes that will result in long-term successful outcomes. Cupping is no silver-bullet, but it does have a silver lining: your patients will feel better, move better and if the APTA wants us to be the Experts in the Human Movement System, we better incorporate all possible treatments that are within our scope of practice and not just focus on those treatments for which strong evidence has been shown; We won’t be able to do much, because strong research is lacking for most of what we do.