What is Hijama?
Hijama is a form of complementary therapy that utilises a partial vacuum to create suction on the surface of the skin. The word Hijama is derived from the Arabic word “Hijm” which literally means to suck. The practice is more commonly known as cupping in the west as it often uses cups or cup shaped vessels to create the vacuum.
Hijama or Cupping therapy has been used by a wide range of populations and cultures throughout history and was also a practice strongly advocated by the prophet Muhammad (pbuh). It has also more recently become a common practice amongst celebrities such as Lionel Richie, Gwyneth Paltrow, Jennifer Aniston, Jessica Simpson, Amir Khan and national rugby league star Sonny Bill Williams.
There are two main types of hijama or cupping therapy: dry hijama and wet hijama.
The dry hijama therapy uses suction alone and causes round “hickey” type marks, often referred to as bruises but like a real hickey are generally not painful. The above image shows Gywneth Paltrow’s dry hijama marks following her treatment. (Image: ww.dailymail.co.uk)
Wet cupping uses the same method but adds small superficial scratches or pin pricks which break the surface of the skin under the cups to encourage blood to be removed. This could be likened to a mechanical form of leaching. The image above shows National Rugby League star Sonny Bill Williams having hijama performed.