Is Cupping Therapy (Hijama) effective for the Treatment of Lower Back Pain?

Is Cupping Therapy (Hijama) effective for the Treatment of Lower Back Pain?

My experience of Cupping Therapy with a Therapist from Natural Health Nature’s Finest – by Sandra Naeem from Manchester.

I was lucky enough to try the ancient therapy of hijama (Arabic word) also known as wet cupping or blood letting. This type of therapy is a recognised form of treatment for many illnesses and has been used in Chinese medicine for centuries. However it is still largely unknown in Western society. It was one of the forms of medicine recommended by the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) who used to have hijama regularly. So for that reason itself I wanted to experience this therapy. It is also a recognised therapy amongst Western medicine but not well known to the average member of the public.

The lady who performed the treatment was very experienced and has set up her own clinic in London. She was invited to do a talk on Hijama at a local event I attended and although I don’t have any major health problems I was interested and intrigued to know more about Hijama as an alternative to Western medicine which is based on diagnosis and prescribing drugs.

Anyway back to the Hijama. The therapist came back to do another talk and offered to do a few appointments for local women so I jumped at the opportunity. She asked me about any illnesses or medical conditions I have so she could know how to treat me. As this was my first time, she performed Hijama on my neck which is also a sunnah spot (this is a part of the body which the Prophet Muhammed used to have done) It is also done on your neck initially as it is hard to tell how a person will take the treatment so doing it on the neck first is a good idea.

She explained what she was going to do (I have a strong threshold for pain after having three children so I wasn’t too nervous) before making very small cuts on the back of my neck. This didn’t hurt, it sort of tickled. A small plastic cup was then placed on the back of my neck, and air was taken out of the cup using suction to create a vacuum, blood was then released through the incisions and into the cup. In the olden days they had to use a candle/flame and small glass cup or bamboo to create heat when placed on the skin in order to create the suction. Nowadays with modern technology the lady who treated me had disposable needles, gloves and cups. An ancient method being updated using modern technology.

After the treatment I didn’t feel any pain and the scars on my neck healed within a week. I was told that the blood was quite thin ( a good sign) although not a lot of it was coming out. I did feel very tired though for a week after the treatment.

A week later she came up for another visit so I took the opportunity to do it again this time in two spots on my lower back (as I have lower back pain for the last few years).


This time more blood was drawn and I got to look at the blood which was disturbingly thick and dark (not a good sign, thick blood is usually toxic and since it was my second treatment the blood was coming out better). This time I felt a bit of pain where the cuts were, but overall I didn’t feel lethargic after treatment as I was a bit more prepared for what to expect.


If you look at the videos on Youtube they are quite scary which is why I didn’t want to post them. If you cannot stand the sight of blood then this is probably not for you. Also the videos on Youtube are extreme. I saw a video of this guy he had 3 cups on his head and about 4 on his back which must be very painful, I felt queasy watching that. Some people left comments saying it is barbaric. It is an alternative therapy. Don’t knock it though until you have tried it!

The idea behind hijama therapy is that a lot of energy is not being used properly by our bodies. Our blood is getting clogged up and not being able to travel through our bodies properly leading to illnesses so the hijama releases the toxic blood allowing the blood to flow better. Depending on your body and the illness you have you may need a few more sessions before you see any overall improvements. An increase in circulation is also very important which is why the therapist asked me to do some moderate exercise every day (although I am not overweight I could do with increasing my circulation and keeping fit!)

Having the hijama done has made me realise how lucky I am in terms of having a reasonably healthy body (I do have some minor health problems but nothing too serious) so I need to start looking after myself before it packs in through old age.

I am also more aware of my eating habits now and have made a few minor changes to improve my diet. Everything the therapist told me to do I am aware of but unfortunately I am not good at implementing and sticking to dietary advice.

Anisa Kissoon of Natural Health Nature’s Finest

27 Georgia Road,
Thornton Heath,
CR7 8DU.

Telephone: 0207 060 7166 / 07877541990

Our thanks to Sandra Naeem from Manchester for sharing the above post. If you have a question for Sandra or if you have had experience of hijama therapy for the treatment of back pain, then please share it 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 send me an email to:

*Comments are moderated to prevent spamming so may take some time to appear


Comments: 3

  1. Posted by Tara Umm Omar 13 Apr 2009 at 12:15 am Reply

    Asalamu Alaikum,

    Very informative and enlightening article masha’Allah. It is ok to get cupped a week later? And how often can you get cupped?

    Insha’Allah I am going to get cupped again on the 21st of Rabbi Thani.

  2. Posted by Anas 13 Apr 2009 at 7:48 am Reply

    السلام عليكم
    That was a very useful account.
    What were the ‘disposable needles’ used for?
    السلام عليكم

  3. Posted by Sandra 13 Apr 2009 at 5:34 pm Reply

    Walaikum salam wa rahmatullah
    The disposable ‘needles’ are used to make the small incisions to release the blood I think there was a mistake in my post as I meant disposable blade- sorry – no needles were used!Its ok to have treatment seven days apart, but your therapist will be able to advise you better based on your health and illness/condition.

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