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.
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).