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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.
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