Al-Hijamah (Cupping Therapy) – Sunnah of the Prophet

Cupping is an ancient method of  treatment whereby a glass or cup is placed on the body surface and  a vacuum is created and toxins or  morbid material is sucked out  from the deeper tissues or the  diseased organs of the human  body.

According to a Hadith appearing  in Sahih Bukhari, the Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) is  quoted to have said that there  are no remedies comparable to  cupping or blood-letting.

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Cupping is known as Hijamah which means reducing in size i.e.,  to return the body back to its  natural state. Cupping diverts the  morbid material responsible for  pain and inflammation by letting  down sufficient quantity of humours (akhlaat).

History of Hijamah or Cupping

Cupping therapy has been around  for thousands of years with  citations dating back to the time  of Hippocrates (400 BC). It was  carried out with the help of  hollowed out animal horns to  suck and drain the toxins out of  wounds caused by snakebite or  skin lesions. Horns were gradually replaced by bamboo cups which gave way to glass.

Earliest record of cupping is to related famous alchemist and herbalist Ge Hong (281-341 AD).  The Chinese expanded the utilization of cupping to include  its use in surgery to divert blood flow from the surgery site. After  extensive research the clinical  efficacy of cupping therapy is  confirmed and has become a  mainstay of government hospitals  in China today. The earliest pictorial record of cupping was discovered in Egypt, around 1500  BC. The oldest recorded medical  textbook written around 1550 BC  in Egypt mentions about cupping.
The Holy Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) of Islam too is said to have used this therapy  known as Al-Hijamah and he even  used to pay the persons who  applied this therapy on him.

The cupping therapy is back into  vogue today after several centuries. Traditionally, cupping has been regarded as an effective treatment for a number of  musculo-skeletal disorders and  as a general measure to maintain and promote well-being.

Therefore, Cupping Therapy is  indicated for a number of problems ranging from eye ailment, headache, arthritis, sciatica, gout, piles, constipation, menstrual problems, uterine cramps, back pain, asthma, cold,  blood disorders, infertility, varicose veins to name but a few. 

Cupping is more beneficial for  skin, muscles, joints, and digestive organs. It diverts the old stagnant blood within the skin and increases the peristaltic movements of the intestines thereby improving the power of digestion.

Cupping is said to be beneficial when applied on a person who is  empty-bellied. A Hadith from Tirmidhi informs: Cupping on an  empty stomach is medicine but a  disease if done on full stomach.  

In the final analysis, cupping or al-Hijamah is powerful healing  method which has been in vogue  in ancient times and has found  endorsement from the Holy Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam).

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