Introduction: Distal polyneuropathy is a common complication of diabetes mellitus with a considerable negative impact on the quality of life. The aim of this study was to evaluate the effect of dry cupping on distal polyneuropathy in diabetic patients.
Methods: This controlled clinical trial was performed on 34 patients with diabetic polyneuropathy (DPN) for eight weeks. The non-invasive dry and fixed cupping therapy was performed on the sole of the right foot in the patients three times a week for 10 min, and the left foot of the same patient was considered as a control. The severity of diabetic neuropathy was measured using the modified Toronto Clinical Neuropathy Score (mTCNS), and the symptom and sensory test scores were determined.
Results: 20 patients (40 feet) completed the study. There was a significant difference between the control foot and the treated foot in terms of the mTCNS after four and eight weeks (p-values = 0.004 and 0.001, respectively), in terms of the sensory test scores after four and eight weeks (p-values = 0.007 and 0.005, respectively), and in terms of the symptom scores after eight weeks (p-value = 0.002).
Conclusion: For the first time, this study demonstrated that cupping therapy might be effective as a complementary treatment in alleviating the symptoms of DPN, although understanding the underlying mechanism requires further investigation.