Cupping Therapy History

Cupping Therapy (CT) has been practiced in many countries since ancient times. The true origin of CT remains uncertain to this day. Chinese are considered responsible for cupping, however the earliest references to CT date back to the ancient Egyptians around 1550 BC. The Ebers Papyrus1 considered one of the oldest medical book states that bleeding by wet cupping removes foreign matter from the body. References to CT are found as well on the ancient Greeks. Both Hippocrates2 and Galen3 were dedicated advocates and users of cupping therapy. The art has remained the same however the equipment and techniques have changed.

In the Muslim world, many famous Islamic physicians and scholars have advocated the use of Hijama Therapy, such as Ibn al-Qayyim al-Jawziyyah4, Ibn Sina5 (also known as-Avicenna), and Al-Razi6.

Hijama & Bloodletting

Bloodletting is when blood is extracted from the veins or arteries and is more invasive than Hijama (where only superficial incisions are made on the skin). During Hijama blood is exclusively removed from underneath the top layer of the skin, the veins are completely avoided.

1. Egyptian compilation of medical texts dated about 1550 bc, one of the oldest known medical works.

2. Hippocrates (c. 460 – c. 370 BCE) was a Greek philosopher and physician who has been called ‘the father of medicine.’

3. Galen (c. 129 – c. 216/17 CE) was born in Greece, studied medicine in Egypt and became the most celebrated physician in the Roman Empire. His theories were to dominate Western medical thinking for centuries after his death.

4. Ibn al-Qayyim al-Jawziyyah ( c. 1292–c. 1350 CE) was a prolific Ḥanbalī jurist, theologian and spiritual writer who is best known as the foremost student of Ibn Taymiyya. Apart from several pilgrimages to Mecca, he spent his whole life in Damascus.

5. Ibn Sina ,known as Avicenna, (c. 980—1037 CE) is one of the great physicians in Islam and arguably one of the greatest thinkers and medical scholars in history.

6. Al-Razi (ca. 865-925), also known as Rhazes, prepared compilations that were influential in Western medicine for centuries. His monograph on smallpox and measles is still considered a medical classic.