History of cupping (Hijama) Cupping (Hijama in Arabic) is an ancient, holistic method for the treatment of a variety of diseases. Though the exact origin of cupping therapy is a matter of controversy, its use has been documented in early Egyptian and Chinese medical practices. Diverse human civilizations have contributed to the historical development and continuation of cupping therapy. This narrative review describes the history of cupping, historical definitions, cupping instruments and uses of cupping therapy. Electronic searches of relevant databases (PubMed, Google Scholar and OvidSP) were conducted using keywords and Boolean operators. – History of cupping (Hijama)
Manual searches and references of published articles and books were also conducted. A number of articles (N = 625) were retained for an extensive review, and finally, 83 articles were included in this paper. The historical descriptions of cupping therapy were found in ancient human civilizations of the Eastern and Western worlds. There was inconsistent data concerning the origin of cupping, definitions, instruments, procedures, definite advancements and research in Hijama over centuries.
Cupping therapy fell out of favor in the 17th and mid-18th centuries but recovered popularity in modern medicine. Currently, cupping therapy is used for health promotion, prophylaxis and treatment of a variety of diseases around the world. Cupping therapy with a good safety profile has a checkered history and is a well-recognized traditional method for managing medical conditions. Currently, the scope of cupping therapy is expanding, and a growing body of research is providing additional evidence-based data for the further advancement of cupping therapy in the treatment of a variety of diseases. – History of cupping (Hijama)
The origin of cupping is unclear. For over 3,000 years, the practice has been typically performed unsupervised, by individuals without any medical background. Iranian traditional medicine uses wet-cupping practices, with the belief that cupping with scarification may eliminate scar tissue, and cupping without scarification would cleanse the body through the organs. Individuals with a profound interest in the practice are typically very religious and seek “purification.
In ancient Greece, Hippocrates (c. 400 BC) used cupping for internal disease and structural problems. The method was highly recommended by Muhammad and hence well-practiced by Muslim scientists who elaborated and developed the method further. Consecutively, this method in its multiple forms spread into medicine throughout Asian and European civilizations. In China, the earliest use of cupping that is recorded is from the famous Taoist alchemist and herbalist, Ge Hong (281–341 A.D.). Cupping was also mentioned in Maimonides’ book on health and was used within the Eastern European Jewish community.
As of 2012 cupping was most popular in China. Cupping has been a formal modality in Chinese hospitals since 1950.
Introduction and brief history
Cupping therapy is an ancient technique of healing. Cupping is performed by applying cups to selected skin points and creating a subatmospheric pressure, either by heat or by suction.
Eber’s papyrus (1550 BC) from Ancient Egypt is one of the oldest medical texts to mention cupping therapy. Cupping therapy is part of numerous ancient healing systems, such as Chinese, Unani, traditional Korean, Tibetan, and Oriental medicine. The ancient Greek physician Hippocrates compiled extensive descriptions of the cupping application. He described two different types of cups: one with a narrow opening and a long handle and the other with a wider opening. The first type was used to treat deep accumulation of fluids, while the second type was used to treat the spread of pain . Cupping therapy was a popular historical treatment in Arabic and Islamic countries. It was recommended by Arabic and Islamic physicians such as Ibn Sina (AD 980–1037), Al-Zahrawi (AD 936–1036), and Abu Bakr Al-Razi (AD 854–925). Al-Zahrawi described cupping sites and illustrated cupping tools with diagrams . Cupping therapy practice spread to Italy and, subsequently, the rest of Europe between the 14th and 17th centuries, during the Renaissance. Cupping was a very popular treatment of gout and arthritis in Italy during this period.