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Med Hypotheses. 2010 May;74(5):945-9. doi: 10.1016/j.mehy.2009.11.037. Epub 2009 Dec 23.

Can traditional "cupping" treatment cause a stroke?

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Academic Unit of Neuroscience, Imperial College, School of Medicine, Charing Cross Campus, Fulham Palace Road, London, UK.


The case study of a patient who developed haemorrhagic stroke after 'cupping' to the cervical area is presented. We consider the various manners in which cupping might induce haemorrhagic or ischemic stroke with particular reference to the relevant pathologies of the major cervical arteries. The other possible causes due to the induced cupping stresses are also examined using a computer based simulation study. Cupping of the cervical area may cause a haemorrhagic stroke by an acute rise in blood pressure. The tensile radial stresses generated by cupping may potentially facilitate the development of a dissection in the presence of an intimal tear. Moreover, the possible presence of micro-inclusions can intensify the local stress concentration for a thin cap.

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