PARTIAL EVALUATION OF TECHNIQUE USED IN CUPPING THERAPY

Journal of Basic and Applied Sciences Vol. 7, No. 1, 65-68, 2011 ISSN: 1814-8085
PARTIAL EVALUATION OF TECHNIQUE USED IN CUPPING THERAPY
*Muhammad Bilal, Rafeeq Alam Khan, Asif Ahmed1 and Syeda Afroz
Department of Pharmacology, Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Karachi, Karachi, Pakistan
1Baqai Medical University, Karachi
Abstract
Cupping is an ancient mode of therapy for various ailments, practiced and recommended by ancient healers. Current study was aimed to scientifically evaluate the efficacy of the technique used in cupping, i.e. suction and removal of blood after giving superficial incisions on skin at various specific points on the body. Since the treatment lies simply in removal of blood from specific areas, and no medication is involved, hence the study was designed to evaluate the significance of alone removal of blood by comparing and analyzing the difference between the compositions of blood samples, obtained through cupping technique versus blood drawn intravenously. 25 healthy male individuals were selected randomly between ages 21-30. Blood samples were collected from vein and cupping site of each individual for the analysis of hematological and biochemical parameters.
There was a significant change in almost all parameters tested as compared to the venous blood samples; the quantity of blood drawn through both method was same i.e. 5 ml, yet significant difference in the composition of all cupping blood samples was observed. On the basis of result we can assume that there might be some unknown substance present in the blood which is drawn and discarded through cupping and removal of which might be creating a favorable balance between various vital parameters.
Keywords: Cupping therapy, alternative mode of treatment, bloodletting, Al-Hajama.
INTRODUCTION
Cupping therapy is a widely employed mode of treatment; classified in alternative medicine and gaining popularity worldwide. (Eisenberg, et al., 1998) Presently, cupping therapy has been claimed to treat various disorders successfully, such as carpel tunnel syndrome (Andreas, et al., 2009), non specific low back pain (Khosro, et al., 2009).
Although this mode of treatment is not common in Pakistan, but some physicians are practicing it and hundreds of patients of various diseases have claimed that they benefited from cupping therapy. It has some religious roots too, since cupping has been called as a better mode of treatment among others (Bukhari: 5683).
There is lack of scientific evidence of efficacy of cupping; hence this study was aimed to evaluate the significance of this unique technique, i.e. drawing and disposal of blood from specific sites. (Chirali, et al., 1999)
Materials and methods
At the beginning of each session of cupping; personal, social, medication and disease histories of the volunteers were documented. After that 5 ml of blood was drawn intravenously and transferred to gel tubes (3ml) and vacuum tubes (2ml) immediately.
After the collection of venous blood, the procedure of cupping was carried out as follows: A point was selected at the back, just above the 7thcervical vertebral column at the level of shoulders. A cotton wick was adhered inside a glass and lit. Then the glass was placed at the selected point top down and pressed. The burning cotton consumed the air present inside the glass creating a vacuum strong enough to stick the glass to the skin firmly.
The glass was kept adhered for 5 to 10 minutes to maintain a force of suction at the site. Then the glass was removed, skin was washed with normal saline, cleaned with pyodine solution and then numerous superficial incisions were given with the help of a sterilized surgical blade.
After that 0.4 ml of EDTA solution was added to the glass, a cotton wick was adhered and lit to the inside of the glass and it was placed on the skin, which created a vacuum strong enough to suck the blood. Blood started trickling down of the incisions. Subject was allowed to *Corresponding author: E-mail: bilalphm@yahoo.com
66 J. basic appl. sci.
lean forward and place his head on a table so that the blood could mix with EDTA properly to prevent coagulation. When sufficient amount of blood was collected, the glass was removed and blood was transferred quickly into the gel tube (3ml) and vacuum tube (2 ml) for testing. Incisions were cleaned; honey was applied on the cuts and then covered with sterilized cotton gauze.
Biochemical testing
Sera were immediately separated out by centrifuging the blood samples at 3000 rpm for 15 minutes and the parameters including lipid profile, hepatic enzymes, renal parameters and glucose were analyzed within 3 hours of sample collection on Humalyzer 3000, Semi-automatic chemistry analyzer (Human, Germany), using standard kits supplied by Merck.
Hematological testing
Hematological parameters were analyzed using automatic Humacount plus, Hematology analyzer. (Human, Germany).
Hematological parameters which were tested include RBC, WBC, hemoglobin, HCT, MCV, RDWc, MCH, MCHC, platelets, lymphocytes, monocytes and Granulocytes, in blood samples obtained from veins through standard procedure, and in blood samples obtained through the technique of cupping.
Statistical analysis
Statistical analysis was performed using Minitab. Values of all parameters in cupping and venous blood samples of each volunteer were compared to discover the difference in composition of both types of samples using paired student’s test.
Data were prepared as mean ± S.E.M and P
value value RESULTS
Hematological parameters
Table 1 reveals the comparison of concentration of
hematological parameters in blood samples
Blood samples from cupping showed highly significant
decline in WBC i.e. 4.93± 0.41 x103/mm3 as compared to
venous blood sample i.e. 7.03± 0.41 x103/mm3.
Blood sample from cupping showed highly significant
decline in RBC i.e. 4.01±0.28 x106/mm3 as compared to
venous blood sample i.e. 5.56± 0.14 x106/mm3.
Blood samples from cupping showed highly significant
decline in hemoglobin i.e. 11.25± 0.90 g/dl as compared
to venous blood sample i.e. 14.29± 0.39 g/dl.
Blood sample from cupping showed highly significant
decline in hematocrit i.e. 34.3± 2.4 % as compared to
venous blood sample i.e. 47.44±5.45%.
Blood sample from cupping showed highly significant
decline in Mean cell hemoglobin concentration i.e. 28.73±
0.26 g/dl as compared to venous blood sample i.e. 29.88±
0.26 g/dl.
Blood sample from cupping showed highly significant
decline in Platelet count i.e. 149.6± 15 x103/mm3 as
compared to venous blood sample i.e. 283± 23 x103/mm3.
Blood sample from cupping showed highly significant
decline in monocytes i.e. 7.5 ± 0.44 % as compared to
venous blood sample i.e. 5.55± 0.52 %.
Blood sample from cupping showed significant decline in
Granulocytes i.e. 55.24± 1.9 % as compared to venous
blood sample i.e. 60.91± 1.9 %.
Blood sample from cupping showed insignificant decline
in RDWc i.e. 14.184± 0.16 % as compared to venous
blood sample i.e. 14.252± 0.16%.
Blood sample from cupping showed insignificant decline
in MCH i.e. 24.82 ± 0.66 pg/cell as compared to venous
blood sample i.e. 25.55 ± 0.68 pg/cell.
Blood sample from cupping showed insignificant decline
in lymphocytes i.e. 36.96 ± 2.0 % as compared to venous
blood sample i.e. 34.28 ± 1.9%.
Biochemical parameters
Lipid profile
Table 2 reveals the comparison of HDL, LDL, cholesterol
and triglycerides levels between blood samples obtained
intravenously through standard procedure, with blood
samples obtained through the technique of cupping.
Blood sample from cupping showed highly significant
decrease in cholesterol i.e. 111 ± 9.1 mg/dl as compared
to venous blood sample i.e.199.8±12 mg/dl.
Blood sample from cupping showed highly significant
decrease in HDL level i.e. 4.18± 0.98 as compared to
venous blood sample i.e. 16.5 ± 3.4 mg/dl.
Blood sample from cupping showed highly significant
decrease in low density lipoproteins level i.e. 88.4± 8.5
mg/dl as compared to venous blood sample i.e. 145.8± 10
mg/dl.
Bilal et al. 67
Blood sample from cupping showed significant decrease
in Triglyceride level i.e.107.2± 11 mg/dl as compared to
venous blood sample i.e. 167 ± 22 mg/dl.
Renal parameters
Table 2 reveals the comparison of urea and creatinine
levels between blood samples obtained from veins
through standard procedure, with blood samples obtained
through the technique of cupping.
Blood sample from cupping showed highly significant
decrease in serum creatinine level i.e. 1.08 ± 0.32 mg/dl
as compared to venous blood sample i.e. 3.5± 0.74 mg/dl.
Blood sample from cupping showed highly significant
decrease in serum urea level i.e. 27.3± 2.4 mg/dl as
compared to venous blood sample i.e. 40.5± 3.2 mg/dl.
Liver enzymes
Table 2 reveals the comparison of SGPT and SGOT
levels between blood samples obtained from veins
through standard procedure, with blood samples obtained
through the technique of cupping.
Blood sample from cupping showed insignificant
decrease in serum SGPT level i.e. 13.2 ± 2.3 U/L in
comparison to venous blood sample i.e. 20.2 ± 2.9 U/L
(venous).
Blood sample from cupping showed insignificant
decrease in serum SGOT level i.e. 14.4 ± 2.5 U/L in
comparison to venous blood sample i.e. 19.3± 2.2 U/L.
Glucose
Table 2 reveals the comparison of glucose levels between
blood samples obtained from veins through standard
procedure, with blood samples obtained through the
technique of cupping.
Blood sample from cupping showed highly significant
decrease in serum glucose level i.e. 64.1 ± 3.9 mg/dl in
comparison to venous blood sample i.e. 85.9 ± 4.1 mg/dl.
DISCUSSION
Although cupping therapy has proven efficacy in treating
several disorders including some mentioned earlier and
some others like migraine headache (Ahmadi, et al.,
2008), generalized pain (Jong, et al., 2009). Cupping has
oriental roots but now it is spreading in western world at a
rapid rate. (Yoo, et al., 2004) A highly significant
decrease was observed in WBC, RBC, Hemoglobin,
Table 1: Comparison of hematological parameters in cupping (hajama) and venous blood samples
Parameters Hajama Blood Value Venous Blood Value
1 WBC 4.93 ± 0.41 x103/mm3 ** 7.03 ± 0.41 x103/mm3
2 RBC 4.01 ± 0.28 x106/mm3 ** 5.560 ± 0.14 x106/mm3
3 HGB 11.25 ± 0.90 g/dl ** 14.29 ± 0.39 g/dl
4 HCT 34.3 ± 2.4 % ** 47.44 ± 5.45%
5 RDWC 14.184± 0.16% 14.252± 0.16%
6 MCH 24.82 ± 0.66 pg/cell 25.55 ± 0.68 pg/cell
7 MCHC 28.73 ± 0.26 g/dl ** 29.88 ± 0.26 g/dl
8 PLT 149.6 ± 15 x103/mm3 ** 283 ± 23 x103/mm3
9 LY% 36.96 ± 2.0% 34.28 ± 1.9%
10 MO% 7.50 ± 0.44 % ** 5.55 ± 0.52%
11 GR% 55.24 ± 1.9 % * 60.91 ± 1.9%
n =25; Average Values ± S.E.M.,*P< 0.05: Significant as compared to control,**P< 0.001:Highly significant as compared to control
Table 2: Comparison of biochemical parameters in cupping (hajama) and venous blood samples
Lipids Hajama Blood value Venous Blood value
1 Cholesterol 111.0 ± 9.1 mg/dl ** 199.8 ± 12 mg/dl
2 Triglyceride 107.2 ± 11 mg/dl * 167 ± 22 mg/dl
3 HDL 4.18 ± 0.98 mg/dl ** 16.5 ± 3.4 mg/dl
4 LDL 88.4 ± 8.5 mg/dl ** 145.8 ± 10 mg/dl
5 Creatinine 1.08 ± 0.32 mg/dl ** 3.50 mg/dl ± 0.74
6 Urea 27.3 ± 2.4 mg/dl ** 40.5 mg/dl ± 3.2
7 SGPT 13.2 ± 2.3 U/L 20.2 ± 2.9 U/L
8 SGOT 14.4 ± 2.5 U/L 19.3 ± 2.2 U/L
9 Glucose 64.1 ± 3.9 mg/dl ** 85.9 ± 4.1 mg/dl
n = 25, Average Values ± S.E.M., *P< 0.05: Significant as compared to control. **P< 0.001: Highly significant as compared to control
68 J. basic appl. sci.
Mean cell hemoglobin concentration, Platelet count and
monocytes in cupping samples as compared to venous
samples.
A significant reduction was observed in granulocytes in
cupping samples as compared to venous samples.
In all the other parameters, a decline was observed also,
although, not statistically significant.
Highly significant decrease in most of the parameters in
lipid profile was observed in cupping samples as
compared to venous samples including; cholesterol, HDL
and LDL. A significant decline was observed in
Triglyceride in cupping samples as compared to venous
samples.
In renal parameters, a highly significant decline was
observed in both creatinine and urea in cupping samples
as compared to venous samples.
In biochemical parameters, glucose was tested and highly
significant decline was observed in cupping samples as
compared to venous samples.
Liver enzymes were also reduced in cupping samples as
compared to venous samples, although not statistically
significant.
This observation indicates towards numerous possibilities
and there might be more than one explanation for this
uniformity of data and persistent decline in all the values
of tested parameters in cupping blood samples.
The above mentioned results become more thought
provoking as the quantities of both the samples were same
in all the samples i.e. 5 ml approximately, and yet the
values of the parameters were persistently found to be
reduced in all categories. This may lead to establish the
presence of some undetected substance in the blood
samples obtained through cupping.
CONCLUSION
Assessing the uniform pattern of decline in the values of
tested parameters of cupping blood samples in
comparison to venous blood samples; it can be safely
assumed that there is a marked difference in the
composition of blood drawn through the technique of
cupping as compared to the blood drawn intravenously.
The reason for this significant difference is yet not
known, however it can be assumed that it may be due to
the presence of some unidentified substance in the blood
samples from cupping site.
REFERENCES
Abu Abdullah Muhammad Bin Ismail Bukhari, Hadith
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Ahmadi A, Schwebel DC, Rezaei M. 2008.The efficacy
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Andreas, MS., Bock, RL., Thomas R., Marcus B., Jürgen
B., Jost L., Frauke M. and Gustav JD. 2009. Effects of
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Chirali I.Z. and Scott J., 1999. Cupping therapy:
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Eisenberg, DM., Davis, RB and Ettner, SL. et al. 1998.,
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