Medical Studies


Effect of cupping therapy in treating chronic headache and chronic back pain at "Al heijamah" clinic HMC

Dr. Mohamed M. Reslan Hssanien
(Reslan M.) Researcher of Complementary and Alternative Medicine( CAM) Outpatient Department.
Hamad General Hospital. Clinical associate, Primary Health Care Department Hamad Medical Corporation.


Objective : To test the effect of cupping therapy in treating chronic headache and chronic back pain.

Background: Cupping therapy "Al heijamah" is a very common non-conventional therapy in the Arabic societies that has been used in the treatment of a wide range of conditions, such as hypertension, rheumatic conditions, ranging from arthritis, sciatica and back pain, migraine, anxiety, and general physical and mental well-being.

Methods: This study was a clinical intervention (pre and post design) utilizing non- conventional therapy (AL Heijamah) for treatment of patients with chronic back pain or chronic headache, with three months follow up at the Out patients Department (OPD) of Hamad General Hospital (HGH) Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC), State of Qatar, from May 2007 to December 2007, to show the efficacy of that procedure on chronic pain using Visual Analog pain scale, pre and post intervention.

Results: The total number of the participants was eighty six, slightly more than half of them were male (51.2%). The majority were non Qatari (72.1%); thirty seven of them had headache and forty nine of them had back pain. Most of the participants were treated with wet cup therapy (98.8%) and only one of them was treated with dry cup. Fifty two of the participants had only one session of cupping while only five of them completed the four sessions. The pain score for patients with headache was decreased from eight to four after cupping therapy followed by intermittent periods of fluctuation of pain, scored from four to five for around five weeks, then it maintained constant at four score till the end of the follow up period. Meanwhile the pain scale for patients with low back pain decreased from seven to three after two weeks and stayed constant till the end of the twelve weeks.

Conclusion: The effect of cupping therapy (Al heijamah) for chronic headache and back pain has been studied and the results revealed significant improvements in participants as a result of cupping therapy. Further studies with larger samples, for longer duration of follow up and use of a comparison group are recommended.

Key words: Complementary, alternative medicine, cupping, heijamah.


Immunomodulatory Effects of Bloodletting Cupping Therapy in patients with Rheumatoid Arthritis


RA is a chronic inflammatory systemic disease that causes irreversible joint destruction.


nGroup I – Conventionally Medicinally treated


nGroup II – Combined treatment – Blood Letting Cupping every 4 weeks





BLC combined with conventional therapy, exerts marked improvement on the clinical condition of the patient. Especially in the analogue of pain scale, reduces the laboratory markers of disease activity and it modulates the immune cellular conditions, particularly of innate immune response NK cell % and adaptive cellular immune response SIL-2R.



M.Ahmed Sahbaa et al – Egyptian Journal of Immunology

Vol.12 (2) 2005 – page 39-51



An investigation into the effect of Cupping Therapy as a treatment for Anterior Knee Pain and its potential role in Health Promotion.



Objective :

To investigate the effect of Cupping Therapy at a patho-physiological level for anterior knee pain. 



Experimental survey utilising a clinical trial and a questionnaire.



There was a statistically significant difference between the level of pain, well being and Range of Motion for patients with anterior knee pain pre and post Cupping. (P <0.05).



Conclusions :

The efficacy of the treatment for Anterior Knee Pain, well being and range of motion has been researched and results reveal improvements in participants as a result of Cupping Therapy. It is recommended that further studies are conducted with larger study samples and of longer duration.


The Internet Journal of Alternative Medicine. 2007. Volume 4 Number 1



The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine

The Effect of Wet Cupping on Serum Lipid Concentrations of Clinically Healthy Young Men: A Randomized Controlled Trial:

Results: A substantial decrease in LDL cholesterol (p < 0.0001) and in the LDL/HDL ratio (p < 0.0001) was found in the treated group compared to the control. There were no significant changes in serum triglyceride between groups (p > 0.05). Although there were no statistically significant variations in total cholesterol and HDL cholesterol (p > 0.05), a 7% decrease in total cholesterol and 3% increase in HDL cholesterol may be clinically important.

Conclusions: Wet cupping may be an effective method of reducing LDL cholesterol in men and consequently may have a preventive effect against atherosclerosis.


Hijaamah (Wet Cupping) In the Treatment of Tension and Migraine Headaches

Ahmadi A, Schwebel DC, Rezaei M. The efficacy of wet-cupping in the treatment of tension and migraine headache. Am J Chin Med. 2008;36(1):37-44.



Wet-cupping is an ancient medical technique still used in several contemporary societies, but little empirical study has been devoted to test its efficacy to treat tension and migraine headache. Using a pre-post research design, 70 patients with chronic tension or migraine headache were treated with wet-cupping. Three primary outcome measures were considered at the baseline and 3 months following treatment: headache severity, days of headache per month, and use of medication. Results suggest that, compared to the baseline, mean headache severity decreased by 66% following wet-cupping treatment. Treated patients also experienced the equivalent of 12.6 fewer days of headache per month. We conclude that wet-cupping leads to clinical relevant benefits for primary care patients with headache. Possible mechanisms of wet-cupping’s efficacy, as well as directions for future research are discussed.