Hijama for the treatment of headache and lower back pain – by Alireza Ahmadi

“Hijama for the treatment of headache and lower back pain” – by Alireza Ahmadi

Interview with Alireza Ahmadi, Kermanshah University of Medical Sciences, Iran.

This is a guest-post in the form of a written interview with Alireza Ahmadi, Kermanshah University of Medical Sciences, Iran, co-author of research entitled: “The Efficacy of Wet-Cupping in the Treatment of Tension and Migraine Headache” and “The effectiveness of wet-cupping for nonspecific low back pain in Iran: A randomized controlled trial”

– Please give us a short introduction about yourself, and in particular how you ended up getting involved with hijama?

Well, I am Alireza Ahmadi, MD, with anesthesiology background in Kermanshah University of Medical Sciences (KUMS), Iran. My interests are in developmental therapeutics for chronic diseases such as headache, Low Back Pain, Immune Disorders, etc., by Complementary and Alternative Treatment (CAM), especially by wet-cupping. Moreover, I have worked extensively in the area of social medicine, especially in prevention of suicide. Furthermore, I am Board Director Member of International Society of Violence and Injury Prevention (ISVIP) (http://www.isvip.org/page.asp?cat=1&documentID;=444), Chair of the International Society for Child and Adolescent Injury Prevention (ISCAIP) www.iscaip.net), Adjunct researcher of safety promotion and injury prevention research group at Division of social medicine in Karolinska Institute – Sweden, Deputy Editor and founder of the Journal of Injury and Violence Research (JIVR)(www.jivresearch.org), and Member of International Cupping Society (www.internationalcuppingsociety.com).

When I was a general practitioner (about 2001), I participated in a short course about traditional medicine in the Hejamat Research Institute of Iran. It was my first experience with wet cupping and it has continued to date.

– What particular illnesses/ conditions have you researched with regards to treatment with hijama/ wet-cupping?

As I said, chronic diseases such as headache, Low Back Pain, Immune Disorders, etc.

– Please explain briefly how the studies were carried out? How many patients took part and how long did it take?

Well, the first is about the effects of wet cupping in treatment of migraine and tension headache. It was a case series of my experiences with before-after methodology. The participants were about 70 patients and the positive effect of wet cupping was significant. The result was published in Am J Chin Med. 2008;36(1):37-44.

The second one was about the effects of wet cupping in treatment of low back pain. It was a progressive in our method. We used the RCT method. It was registered in www.irct.ir. The method was acceptable, participants were about 106 patients and the results were significant, too. This work was published in Complement Ther Med. 2009 Jan;17(1):9-15.

– What was the outcome/conclusion from both these studies: hijama for headache and hijama for lower back pain?


The effects on relief of the pain were significant – patients reported reduced pain following the wet-cupping treatment.


– Are you planning any other hijama-related studies in the near future?

Yes, we are focusing our work on the study of the cellular reaction and immune cytokines, right know.

– If you have hijama done yourself, how often do you get it done, and what for (if any specific condition) and who do you go to get it done (since it is not an easy therapy to self-administer)?

Oh, funny. Nice question. Yes, I got severe low back pain about 7 years ago. The effects of wet cupping were very good and I returned to work very soon. I recommend to my patients to do a prophylactic wet cupping, according to their age. For example, if they are 40, I recommend doing wet-cupping each 40 days and if they are 65 years old, I recommend to do wet cupping each 65 days. This is for adults. In babies and children, I recommended two times per year (the first day of spring and the first day of autumn). And in adolescence and young adults, my recommendation is somewhere between these two. Parts of these recommendations are according to the Hadis of Imam Reza and parts of these are from my experiences and the protocol of the Hejamat Research Institute of Iran.

I try to do my wet cupping in the appropriate time according to these plans that I mentioned. My son, Mohamad Sadegh, who is expert in wet cupping, always does the wet cupping for me.

– What is the overall prevalence of hijama therapy in Iran? Is it available in hospitals and clinics as a valid alternative / sunnah therapy?

A lot of people, especially those with a strong religious background, get wet cupping done regularly. No it is not available in the hospitals or governmental clinics. But in research centers or in private clinics, it’s available.

– Finally where can readers obtain or purchase your above research papers from?

The abstracts are available in almost the indexing services similar to www.pubmed.com . But the full text is available in the website of the journals.

At the end, I’d like to appreciate your hard effort and I hope for successful results for you. I’d like to thank my friend and colleague who is David C. Schwebel (University of Alabama at Birmingham, USA). He has a significant effect on the progression of my research. Moreover, I appreciate his wife for all her support (since we started our collaboration and throughout these years).

Alireza Ahmadi
Research Abstracts available at:
The efficacy of wet-cupping in the treatment of tension and migraine headache.
The effectiveness of wet-cupping for nonspecific low back pain in Iran: a randomized controlled trial.


Email: ahmadiar1012@yahoo.com

Our thanks to Alireza Ahmadi from Iran for sharing the above post. If you have any further questions that you want to ask Mr Ahmadi about his research then please do so via a comment* below.

If you are a hijama therapist or patient and are happy to share your knowledge or experience via a guest blog-post like the one above, please contact us.


Leave a Comment!

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

fourteen − twelve =

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

WhatsApp chat