Cupping was also used by doctors throughout Western Europe and America from the 1700s to the early 1900s. After declining in use by modern physicians for nearly 100 years, it is now becoming known again among the North American public.
Cupping in the massage setting is most commonly performed by placing plastic cups on a selected area and creating a vacuum seal on the skin. This creates the pulling effect of drawing fluids to the surface.
Cupping is a technique that utilizes negative pressure (suction) to release stagnant/stuck blood and fluid from tissue and bring it to the surface to be carried out through the circulation and lymphatic systems. This allows newly oxygenated blood to flow into the area and bring nutrients to the area to promote healing.
HOW IS HIJAMA PERFORMED?
The treatment process involves the application of cups on various points of the body. A negative pressure (suction) is then created by using a hand pump. This is then followed by applying small, superficial scratches or incisions onto the same location point of the body. This is performed by using a sterile surgical instrument that is disposable. The cups are then re-applied and suction is applied again. The toxic blood is gradually drawn out and then safely disposed of.
By creating a vacuum of reduced oxygen within a cup over the skin, the tissue is drawn into the cup, acting on tissue up to 4 inches within the body, drawing toxins and old stagnant blood from deep within the body to the surface below the skin layers.
There are several methods of cupping that can be done using cups made from various materials. They originate from two main methods – “dry” cupping and “wet” cupping. No matter which method is used, cupping strongly activates Qi (vital energy) and blood.
Wet cupping (Hijama cupping) is a type of controlled bloodletting by making multiple shallow pinpricks into the skin with a specialized lancet needling device or a surgical blade. The sensation feels like mosquito bites.
The principle of wet cupping is simple: when the body’s systems get clogged up faster than it can eliminate blockage, then over time, pain and disease manifest or worsen.
The analogy used to describe it is that “it is like removing a plug from a dam of congested energy. The size of the plug corresponds to how big the dam is and how stagnant the water is in that dam. By removing an appropriate size plug using wet cupping, new, oxygenated blood can then move into the area, supplying a boost of nutrition and healing.”
For safety reasons for wet cupping, approx 7 specific areas of the body in one session, depending on the client’s constitutional strength and comfort level. After the session, marks may be tender for 24-48 hours. Marks disappear within 3-15 days, depending on the level of toxicity and efficiency of the lymphatic system.
Compared to dry cupping, wet cupping is the fastest, most effective method to move congestion and sluggishness in the body.
- Dry Cupping
- Fire Cupping
- Wet Cupping
- Moving Cupping
- Massage Cupping
- It stimulates Qi and blood flow for more immediate results than acupuncture or herbal medicine. It can dramatically decrease the number of sessions a client would typically require if only receiving acupuncture or herbs.
- It’s one of the most clinically effective methods for treating acute and chronic pain, and many other conditions (see below).
- Acute and chronic pain
- Systemic whole-body detoxification
- Activation of the lymphatic drainage system
- Improving cardiovascular and pulmonary circulation for greater oxygenation of tissues
- Immune system boosting
- Relieving stress
- Local area healing due to physical traumas or sports injuries
- Improving athlete performance (recreational, competitive and high-performance levels)
- Skin rejuvenation
- Whole health rejuvenation
- Neutralizing emotions of anger, fear, worry, grief, and tendency to oscillate between hyperactive joy and fear or anger (because emotions are understood to be carried in the blood)
- Lower back pain
- Chest & nasal congestion
- Shortness of breath,
- Alcohol dependency
- Stiff neck/shoulders
- Common cold/flu/fever
- Menstrual cramps
- Idiopathic Ischemic heart pain
- Frozen shoulder
- Post-stroke hemiplegia
- Joint sprains
- Minor bone fractures
- Anxiety attacks
- Digestive disorders
- Hair loss
- Skin purpura
- Benign red dots on the skin (angiomas, hemangiomas)
- Flank pain
- Varicose veins
- Sharpening athletic performance
Cupping therapy, in general, is very safe and has no side-effects.
Each case is unique and wet cupping is not suitable for everyone. Those that show deficiency more than excess would not be suitable candidates for wet cupping.
Wet cupping is contraindicated for individuals who have pure deficiency conditions such as is seen with
- Anemia, anorexia, chronic diarrhea,
- Post-delivery or breastfeeding women, or post-surgery patients.
- Pregnant women
- Bleeding disorders like hemophilia, or with a pacemaker, or on strong blood-thinning medications (like Plavix, but daily baby aspirin is fine).
In some deficiency cases, dry cupping is applied, “moving” cupping (works like a deep tissue massage) or fire cupping.
- Anticoagulant drugs
- Empty stomach – particularly during long fasting periods such as the holy Ramadan month, as fasting temporarily weakens the body’s energy.
- Essential to stop eating 3 hours before – drinking is fine
- Preferable to take a shower at least 2-3 hours before your treatment and not just before your treatment.
- Please bring a list of the medicines you are currently taking
- Wear dark clothing/bring spare clothing as you may have residue blood that can stain your clothes – layers are best as you may be cold post-treatment.
- Remove tight or restrictive jewelry beforehand.
- Please remember a parent or guardian is required to accompany minors to all appointments.
It is recommended to fast for a minimum of three hours before your treatment, this is because having food activates the blood circulation in digesting and transporting nutrients around the body.
It is important to note that whenever toxic, stagnant blood is removed, the body needs proper nutrition to produce fresh healthy replacement blood and 14-30 days should be given between each wet cupping session to allow for this.
- Avoid consuming acidic products such as red meat and all dairy products (for 24 hours). You can eat fish, eggs, fruit, vegetables, a small portion of chicken only – try to avoid if possible.
- Avoid all caffeine/carbonated (fizzy) drinks (for 24 hours). You should drink lots of spring water to stay hydrated & you can drink green tea instead which has better health benefits.
- Avoid all forms of tobacco including beetle nut and paan (for 24 hours) if possible, try to find ways to gradually quit this habit.
- Avoid physical exercise/intercourse (for 48 hours)
- Although disinfection will be used pre and post-treatment, try to avoid washing the affected area (for 24 hours) this is to remove any small risk of infection.
- Apply olive oil generously on the affected area twice daily for 2-3 weeks