What is Hijama?

"Hijama is the most helpful procedure for human beings to cure themselves" (al-Bukhari 5357). This is the recommendation of prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him)


We want everyone to have the best Hijama experience and the maximum benefit from this exceptional therapy! Hijama should only be a light scratch on the surface of the skin and should NOT be painful during or after the session! An increasing amount of clients are making us aware of bad experiences they had with hijama before coming to us. We find this an alarming development which discourages people from having this treatment done. Please ensure to only use the services of therapists qualified from reputable institutes. Ask them how long their qualification took and if it is recognised in Britain. One-day hijama courses are on offer which results in semi-qualification and can pose serious health risks.

The Procedure

The mouth of a cup (plastic cups are generally used) is placed on the skin at the site chosen for cupping. The treatment is generally done on the back of the body, but can also be done on the front, head and limbs. With the use of a cup and suction pump the skin on these areas is pulled up a little and a tight seal is created. By leaving the cups on for 5 minutes the skin under the cups becomes numb The cup is left to cling to the skin for a few minutes, then it is lifted off and a couple of minimal scratches are made on the skin. Because the skin is already less sensitive this feels like little pinpricks. The cup is then put back over the same area and tiny amounts of blood come out in droplets. This procedure is repeated until the flow of blood subsides. Please note: the amount of blood drawn is not indicative of the success of the treatment! In some cultures it is believed that the more blood is taken, the better the result, but the opposite is true. The toxic blood is not found in the veins, but in the capillaries (the tiniest blood vessels just under the surface of the skin). That's why a couple of small scratches are sufficient to open the surface of the skin so the toxic blood can be drawn out.

Before the treatment you should fast for at least 2 ½ hours or 2 hours for diabetics. After the procedure it's important to drink a lot and eat light food that's easily digested.

After the hijama you may become tired due to the strong detoxifying effects of the therapy.

A Brief History

Cupping therapy is known as Hijama in Arabic, Toobin in Somali and Singa or Shinga in Asian languages.

This therapy was known to tribal societies, the Pharaohs, the Chinese and other civilisations. The primary equipment used were animal horns that are naturally shaped as cups. Later all kinds of materials were used to form cups; metal, clay, glass and bamboo to name a few. Nowadays most often plastic cups and a suction pump are used as equipment. This way there is no risk of blood to blood contamination, because everything is thrown away after the treatment is done.

Hijama was used in Western hospitals from very early times and was performed by highly skilled doctors and surgeons. The founder of today's Royal Free and Royal Marsden Hospitals in London, surgeon William Marsden (1796-1867) employed paid cuppers during the 1830s. European and American doctors and surgeons were employing cupping therapy to treat a variety of conditions up to the late 1860s. After 1860 the interest declined as wet cupping decreased in popularity and the focus of the medical world shifted towards producing patented medicine and the world's first factory for producing only medicines opened in 1859.

There was a great number of female physicians performing hijama that were held in great esteem and sought after by patients. Women have been more important than men in the use and continuity of hijama practice.

In the past two decades hijama has enjoyed a huge revival in the Muslim world as well as in the West. Quite a lot of very interesting research has been carried out into the benefits and effectivity of hijama therapy in recent years; arthritic conditions are among the best researched, showing marked improvement in mobility and pain management.

Benefits of Hijama

Today most people seek some form of complementary therapies to deal with their health problems in addition to a conventional medical approach.

Hijama therapy works on different levels in the body and has both short term and long term effects. The benefits of hijama as a health maintenance and preventative treatment are many:

  • it stimulates the blood circulation
  • blood is detoxified directly through the skin, which is the largest body organ and as such it can clear body toxins quickly and efficiently. It is the fastest way to detoxify.
  • it helps tissues to remove metabolic waste and stimulates tissue metabolism.
  • balances hormone excretion and function.
  • supplies more oxygen, hormones and essential enzymes to local tissues and joints.
  • activates the lymphatic system.
  • improves blood and lymph flow to the corresponding organs; stimulates and strengthens their function.
  • may reduce anxiety, stress and depression by releasing chemicals in the brain.
  • relieves stagnation and congestion from inflamed areas and draws out acidic blood around.
  • increases red and white blood cells.
  • changes acidic blood into alkaline or neutral.
  • relieves muscle spasms, hardening or stiffness of muscular tissue.
  • reduces unwanted side effects of drugs, removes their residue and reduces risk of drug toxicity.
  • improvement of immunity and resilience of the total organism by the effect of all of the above

Hijama may alleviate a lot of health problems and has been proven to be an excellent therapy for pain anywhere in the body. Most people feel very positive and relaxed after a hijama treatment, experiencing improvement in their mental clarity and happier in their mood. Also medication is better absorbed in combination with hijama, which in most cases will lower its requirement. At the same time hijama can help with detoxifying side effects of necessary medication. A general rule is: the longer a condition has existed and the more complex it is, the longer it will take to reverse it. A lot of people feel a significant improvement in their condition after only one hijama session, but it may take several cupping sessions before the full benefit is felt. There are some factors that will indicate the number of treatments you require: for how long you have had a problem; if you have been on medication and for how long. Other factors could be: age, lifestyle, diet, exercise, sleeping pattern etc. Nothing is the same for everyone and each person will be assessed and advised individually during the intial consultation.

Rewards for Hijama

Apart from feeling better after the hijama treatment insha Allah, you will also get the reward for reviving a Sunnah and for investing in your health. The prophet (saw) said: "treat your sick with Sadaqah (charity)". Paying the therapist is counted as a Sadaqah for the patient.

Ideally hijama should be done once a season (once in about 3 months) as a preventative measure; many degenerative diseases can be prevented by regular hijama treatment. Some people even prefer to have it monthly for the above reason and I can't disagree, because our health is under attack from so many directions. i.e.: the water, the air, our food, the pharmaceutical medication we take, environmental toxins etc.; all of these contain toxins our bodies have to deal with on a daily basis. As always: Prevention is better than cure.....