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Open AccessArticle

Cognitive and Emotional Aspects of Cupping Therapy

Acupuncture & Meridian Science Research Center, College of Korean Medicine, Kyung Hee University, Seoul 02447, Korea
KM Fundamental Research Division, Korea Institute of Oriental Medicine, Daejeon 34054, Korea
Department of Industrial ICT Engineering, Dong-Eui University, Busan 47227, Korea
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Equally contributed to this study as co-first authors.
Brain Sci. 2020, 10(3), 144;
Received: 15 February 2020 / Revised: 1 March 2020 / Accepted: 2 March 2020 / Published: 4 March 2020
(This article belongs to the Collection Collection on Cognitive Neuroscience)
Cupping therapy has recently gained public attention and is widely used in many regions. Some patients are resistant to being treated with cupping therapy, as visually unpleasant marks on the skin may elicit negative reactions. This study aimed to identify the cognitive and emotional components of cupping therapy. Twenty-five healthy volunteers were presented with emotionally evocative visual stimuli representing fear, disgust, happiness, neutral emotion, and cupping, along with control images. Participants evaluated the valence and arousal level of each stimulus. Before the experiment, they completed the Fear of Pain Questionnaire-III. In two-dimensional affective space, emotional arousal increases as hedonic valence ratings become increasingly pleasant or unpleasant. Cupping therapy images were more unpleasant and more arousing than the control images. Cluster analysis showed that the response to cupping therapy images had emotional characteristics similar to those for fear images. Individuals with a greater fear of pain rated cupping therapy images as more unpleasant and more arousing. Psychophysical analysis showed that individuals experienced unpleasant and aroused emotional states in response to the cupping therapy images. Our findings suggest that cupping therapy might be associated with unpleasant-defensive motivation and motivational activation. Determining the emotional components of cupping therapy would help clinicians and researchers to understand the intrinsic effects of cupping therapy. View Full-Text
Keywords: arousal; cupping; emotion; motivation; valence arousal; cupping; emotion; motivation; valence
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Hong, M.; Lee, I.-S.; Ryu, Y.; Kim, J.; Chae, Y. Cognitive and Emotional Aspects of Cupping Therapy. Brain Sci. 2020, 10, 144.

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