Public Perceptions of Cupping Therapy (Hijama) and Whether It Will Be Chosen Over Donating Blood

Main Article Content

Abdulraheem Alshareef
Abdulrahman Amer Albeladi
Ahmad Khalaf Alsaedi
Ahmad Abdulaziz Alnakhli
Raed Saad AlHejili


Background: Modern medicine, despite its great advances, still not as effective as cupping therapy in treating many medical conditions.

Objective: To assess the level of awareness and the general perceptions about cupping therapy (Hijama) in the Saudi population.

Methods: We conducted a cross-sectional study among 1120 adult subjects (473 males and 647 females), during the period from January to March 2020. Participants responded to an anonymous self-administered questionnaire requesting information about their knowledge, attitude, and perceptions of cupping therapy. The data collected from 1120 questionnaires were analyzed using appropriate statistical methods in two stages (descriptive analysis - analysis of the study hypotheses). The frequencies and percentages of the descriptive analysis and the primary data of the study sample were calculated and the responses of its members to the questions included in the questionnaire were determined. The study hypotheses were analyzed using the chi-squared test to study the independence of the variables under study. The analysis was done using (IBM SPSS Statistics 25.0) software.

Results: About 32% of the participants underwent cupping before and the majority of them performed wet cupping (82.2%) and felt light pain (55.6%). Almost 60% of all participants were afraid of cupping and this fear was mainly from the injury (37%). The percentage of those who prefer to donate their blood was 72% while only 28% choose to perform cupping. There were statistically significant relationships between the gender of the participants and cupping procedure (p=0.003), fear of performing it (p<0.001) and preference for cupping over donating blood (p=0.002). Similarly, there were statistically significant relationships (p<0.001) between the age of the participants and cupping procedure, fear of performing it and preference for cupping over donating blood.

Conclusion: This study showed the high knowledge, attitudes and perception of the Saudi population towards wet cupping therapy. Importantly, most of the surveyed population, especially younger ones, choose to donate their blood rather than performing wet cupping. Further research is needed to establish a collaboration platform between wet cupping clinics and blood banks to fill the gap of frequent shortage of blood units.

Cupping therapy, knowledge, perception, blood donation, Saudi Arabia.

Article Details

How to Cite
Alshareef, A., Albeladi, A. A., Alsaedi, A. K., Alnakhli, A. A., & AlHejili, R. S. (2021). Public Perceptions of Cupping Therapy (Hijama) and Whether It Will Be Chosen Over Donating Blood. Journal of Complementary and Alternative Medical Research, 12(2), 30-35.
Original Research Article


Mahdavi MRV, Ghazanfari T, Aghajani M, Danyali F, Naseri M. Evaluation of the effects of traditional cupping on the biochemical, hematological and immunological factors of human venous blood. A compendium of essays on alternative therapy Croatia: In Tech. 2012;6.

Aleyeidi NA, Aseri KS, Matbouli SM, Sulaiamani AA, Kobeisy SA. Effects of wet-cupping on blood pressure in hypertensive patients: A randomized controlled trial. Journal of Integrative Medicine. 2015;13(6):391-9.

Ullah K, Younis A, Wali M. An investigation into the effect of cupping therapy as a treatment for anterior knee pain and its potential role in health promotion. Internet J Altern Med. 2007;4(1):1-9.

Qureshi NA, Ali GI, Abushanab TS, El-Olemy AT, Alqaed MS, El-Subai IS et al. History of cupping (Hijama): A narrative review of literature. J Integr Med. 2017; 15(3):172-81.

Al-Kazazz FF, Abdulsattar SA, Mohammed K. Study effect of wet cupping on hematological parameters and inflammatory proteins of healthy Iraqi men. Am J Phytomed Clin Ther. 2014:1-6.

Khalil MK, Al-Eidi S, Al-Qaed M, AlSanad S. Cupping therapy in Saudi Arabia: From control to integration. Integrative Medicine Research. 2018;7(3):214-8.

Mehta P, Dhapte V. Cupping therapy: A prudent remedy for a plethora of medical ailments. Journal of Traditional and Complementary Medicine. 2015;5(3):127-34.

Akhtar J, Siddiqui MK. Utility of cupping therapy Hijamat in Unani medicine; 2008.

Ahmedi M, Siddiqui MR. The value of wet cupping as a therapy in modern medicine-An Islamic Perspective; 2014.

Lee HJ, Park NH, Yun HJ, Kim S, Jo DY. Cupping therapy-induced iron deficiency anemia in a healthy man. The American Journal of Medicine. 2008;121(8):e5-e6.

Al-Rubaye KQA. The clinical and histological skin changes after the cupping therapy (Al-Hijamah). J Turk Acad Dermatol. 2012;6(1):1261a1.

Mourad SA, Al-Jaouni SK. The effect of wet cupping on blood haemoglobin level. Alternative & Integrative Medicine. 2016;1-6.

AL-Shamma YM. Al-Hijamah cupping therapy. Kufa Medical Journal. 2009;12(1):49-56.

Hssanien MMR, Fawaz MS, Ahmed AF. Effect of cupping therapy in treating chronic headache and chronic back pain at Al Heijamah Clinic HMC. World Family Med J. 2010;8(3):30–6.

Anderson E, Anderson P. General practitioners and alternative medicine. J R Coll Gen Pract. 1987; 37(295):52–5.

Marshall RJ, Gee R, Israel M, Neave D, Edwards F, Dumble J et al. The use of alternative therapies by Auckland general practitioners. N Z Med J. 1990;103(889): 213–5.

Verhoef MJ, Sutherland LR. Alternative medicine and general practitioners. Opinions and behaviour. Can Fam Physician. 1995;41:1005–11.

Fonte D, Blondé J, Girandola F. How to encourage non-donors to be more willing to donate blood? Testing of binding communication based interventions. Transfus Med. 2017;27:207–212.

Van DA. Easy come, easy go. Retention of blood donors. Transfus Med. 2015; 25:227–233.

Bednall TC, Bove LL, Cheetham A et al. A systematic review and meta-analysis of antecedents of blood donation behavior and intentions. Soc Sci Med. 2013;96:86–94.