Mediterr J Rheumatol 2021;32(4):316-23
Cupping (Hijama) in Rheumatic Diseases: The Evidence
Authors Information

1. Division of Rheumatology, Department of Internal Medicine, American University of Beirut Medical Centre, Beirut, Lebanon

2. Department of Rheumatology, the Royal London Hospital, Bancroft Road, London, United Kingdom

G El Hasbani, I Uthman


Although practiced initially for the alleviation of pain, cupping therapy (Hijama in Arabic) has been used for a variety of medical conditions, including autoimmune and autoinflammatory diseases, with variable outcomes. In recent years, scientific research on the effectiveness of cupping in the treatment of various diseases has accelerated. Relevant literature to identify the types of cupping along with its association with certain rheumatic conditions was screened through a search of the online databases (MEDLINE, PubMed, and Google Scholar) for an indefinite period. Many reports have drawn serious rheumatic side effects which led medical providers to raise the voice against its practice. Moreover, the rare induction of rheumatic conditions has been partly referred to the immunomodulatory effect that cupping exerts in the body. Cupping therapy still needs more evidence to be labelled as therapeutic procedure for rheumatic conditions. Many studies agree that cupping works best when used in combination to pharmacotherapy. Other studies find no clinically significant beneficial role.

Article Submitted: Feb 2021; Revised Form: 3 Sep 2021; Article Accepted: 10 Sep 2021; Available Online: 27 Dec 2021


This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. 

©El Hasbani G, Jawad A, Uthman I.