Fact Check: Can cupping cure infertility?

Quick Take

A number of social media posts claim that acupuncture and cupping can cure infertility and help infertile women conceive naturally. We fact-checked and found that the claim is half true. While there are some medical evidence against the beneficial effects of cupping in treatment of infertility, the sample size of such studies are very small to draw any conclusion.

The Claim

In an Instagram post titled “How can cupping help with fertility”, a user claims, Cupping increases ovulation, regulates periods, balances hormones. Such posts can be seen here, and here.

A screenshot is given below.

Fact Check

What are the various causes of infertility in women?

Infertility refers to a medical condition where a women hasn’t been able to get pregnant after a year of trying. Female infertility can be caused by a variety of factors.
The most common overall cause of female infertility is the failure to ovulate, which occurs in 40% of women. Problems with the menstrual cycle, structural problems of the reproductive system, infection, uterine fibroids, PCOS, autoimmune disorders are few other causes that can also lead to infertility.

What is cupping?

Cupping is an alternative medicinal therapy where special cups are placed on the skin to create suction. It is used as a deep tissue massage that helps relieve pain.

Research has shown that cupping can help to eliminate toxins trapped in the tissues. Studies have further established the health benefits of cupping for multiple other health problems.

Can cupping cure infertility?

Maybe. There is very little scientific evidence at the moment to make any conclusive statement regarding this.

One research listed in Medical Acupuncture is actually a case study of a single Mexican woman who apparently conceived after acupuncture treatment. The authors of the report presented it as a reference and noted, “Further, large-scale, randomized clinical trials are needed to verify the efficacy of acupuncture on female infertility.”

Another study was done on the same topic studied the effectiveness of wet cupping for female infertility treatment. The study was done on a small sample size of 59 patients out of which 12 patients got pregnant after acupuncture treatment. The researchers concluded, “Hijama might be beneficial in infertile women to achieve a pregnancy. Further studies are needed to confirm the findings from this study.”

While cupping has been used in traditional Chinese and Islamic medicinal practice to treat infertility. However, research based evidence is limited.

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