ILAJ BIL HIJAMAH (CUPPING THERAPY) IN UNANI SYSTEM OF MEDICINE: ANECDOTAL PRACTICE TO EVIDENCE BASED THERAPY
Background: Cupping (Hijamah) therapy is very well documented as a result of several thousand years of clinical experiences in Unani medicine. In this procedure, suction is created by various means either with or without bloodletting. Though this therapy is being widely practiced across the globe for treating many chronic and intractable ailments but many reports reveal its unscientific and improper practices which results in many complications. Therefore to develop standard operative procedures and to propose protocols of cupping therapy in various diseases is the need of hour. Materials and methods: A thorough literature review of relevant journals and textbooks was performed to gather the maximum available data on cupping therapy. Conclusion: This paper seeks to introduce the general concepts of cupping therapy in Unani medicine and other traditional systems of medicine, shortcomings and limitations of the currently published studies and suggest ways to improve these technical/ methodological flaws. In addition, the authors have also attempted to provide the cupping related materials, hypotheses, observations which will provide the researchers the base for evaluating their usefulness in future clinical trials.
Key words: Hijamah; Cupping; Scarification; Unani Medicine.