Al-Hijamah: An Ancient Method of Cleansing in Islam

Al-Hijamah, also known as cupping therapy, has made a comeback and has again become a prevalent form of treatment. The treatment dates back many thousands of years, and today it is widely used in many clinics, especially in acupuncturists, as it is part of TCM – the traditional Chinese medicine. It has also made its entry on the red carpet, where we see many of the famous ones show up with suction marks on their backs. It is believed that the therapy can help against a wide range of diseases. It has even been stated that “cupping is a cure for any disease”. But what is so special about cupping? Is cupping a miracle cure, or is it just talk from the past?


History of Cupping

Cupping has been around for thousands of years. Everything from hollowed-out horns from animals has been used for bamboo cups, glass cups, and plastic. It’s hard to say precisely how far back in time or where in the world cupping started. Some believe that it originated with the Chinese, but images have actually been found that go back 3,500 years to the ancient Egyptians. In Eber papyrus, the oldest medical document, there are detailed descriptions of Cupping and how you could use this in the treatment against fever, pain, dizziness, menstrual imbalances, and much more.

The Egyptians introduced cupping to the Greeks, where Hippocrates saw therapy as being “a remedy for every disease” Cupping remained practiced in the medical world throughout Europe until the mid-1800s. The earliest recorded use of cupping dates back to 281-341 AD. from the famous alchemist and herbalist Ge Hong, who is known for saying “cupping and acupuncture, a cure for more than half of all diseases.” Cupping has also been and still is very common among Muslims, as the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) stated, “that cupping is a cure for every disease”. He even had Cupping performed several times in his life, i.a. for migraines. In Islam, Cupping is known as “hijama”. The Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) has made several detailed statements about the benefits of Cupping, and it is recorded that he used nine different points on his body when he was cupped.

It is also known that female healers in different communities practiced Cupping, and it was almost a family tradition. These women had significant influence as healers in many cultures in Europe, Africa, and Asia. The years go by, and the medical treatment focuses more on science. In the mid-19th century, Western scientific medicine was so prevalent that Cupping and other holistic treatment methods were seen as a surface treatment. It, therefore, conflicts with the new biomedical model, which moves away from a holistic way of thinking. The therapy thus goes far back in history, and you can see that it has been widespread in large parts of the world.


Different Forms of Cupping

In general, there are two forms of Cupping: dry Cupping and wet Cupping.


Dry Cupping

In dry Cupping, the cups are placed on different acupuncture points on the body. Within dry Cupping, there are many different types, including:

  • Massage/moving cupping – massage along meridians and areas of tenderness and tension
  • Flash cupping – the cups are put on and removed quickly again, repeatedly.
  • Herbal Cupping – bamboo cups are boiled in a mix of herbs, or you can put herbs in the glass cup before it hits the skin
  • Needle cupping – acupuncture is combined with Cupping by placing the cap over the needle.


Wet Cupping

There is also a “wet version” of Cupping. Here, small incisions are made in the skin of less than 1 mm, or a hole is made in the area with a “needle hammer”. With this, a little blood will come out in connection with the negative pressure in the cup. Wet cupping part of the Muslim tradition of “hijama.” In England, Anisa Kissoon has had Hijama approved as a form of treatment. She mentions that blood extracted by hijama cupping has been examined by an independent, non-Muslim laboratory. They found it “toxic and unsuitable for a human being”. It is believed that the blood that is removed by wet Cupping is stagnant blood which is a nuisance to the body, and by removing it, the body will produce new fresh blood cells for that area.


What Are the Benefits of Cupping?

  • Stimulates and strengthens the immune system
  • Increases blood flow in connective tissue, joints, muscles, and connective tissue of internal organs
  • Stimulates tissues and internal organs
  • It brings blood and heat to an affected organ
  • Releases old waste products from the connective tissue, which acts as a depot for all these waste products
  • Increases cleansing


Can We Use the Treatment Today?

It is believed that Cupping can affect a wide range of disorders, including fluid retention, weight gain, low back pain, neck and shoulder pain, pain in joints such as knees, hips, ankles, wrists, elbow joints, muscle tension, arthritis, pain and restlessness in the legs, heaviness in the body, unnatural fatigue, eczema, psoriasis, constipation, digestive problems, fertility problems, headaches, migraines, poor immune system, poor cleansing. Your body deserves the best care! Schedule your session at Body & Balance for top-notch and affordable cupping services in Box Hill.


Side Effects of Cupping

You get suction marks from the cups during a treatment. Depending on the person, the scars will disappear after a week. Soreness can occur in the body, as can any massage. As waste products are loosened, you may experience dizziness, fatigue, and headaches – but this should be seen as a sign that the body is working – remember to drink plenty of water. Therefore, we can consider there are practically no side effects with this incredible treatment.



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