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Selma Cook

nhnf“After experiencing my own personal illness and pain for 16 years, I had a Hijama treatment and it helped me to the extent that I could lead a normal life. This made me passionate about it and I wanted to bring it to the rest of the world.” These are the words of Anisa Kissoon who was responsible for having Hijama treatment legally acknowledged and registered with the Association of Complementary Medicine in the UK.

 What initially caught Kissoon’s attention was the fact that something so simple was so effective. She was also moved by it having a religious basis and she wanted to have the blessing of reviving a Sunnah of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him).

What Is Hijama?

 Hijama is a therapy that comes from the Arabic root – sucking; vacuum. This therapy works with the body’s condition and balances it. The body may be suffering from sluggish organs, or be in need of detoxification, and either way Hijama is an effective treatment. Hijama therapy is even known to have helped women ovulate and thus, fall pregnant. As Hijama therapy directly removes a small amount of blood from the patient it also detoxifies the blood, stimulates the body’s immune system and helps blood to flow more freely. It is known to relieve pain including migraine and back ache and is also the best preventive treatment available.

How and When Is Hijama Therapy Performed?

 In other alternative medicines Hijama is also known as cupping or bloodletting, but the difference between these and Hijama is that with Hijama only the surface of the skin is scratched and then glass cups are placed on the specific spot and a vacuum is made to gently draw the blood out. Kissoon commented, “We sent some samples of blood that were taken during Hijama treatment to a non-Muslim laboratory and the doctors there commented that the blood was highly toxic and unsuitable for a human being.”

 According to the Sunnah of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) there are certain places on the body that should have this treatment even if the individual is well, as a preventive medicine. There are also recommended times to perform Hijama and other times when Hijama should not be performed unless there is necessity. According to the Sunnah it is recommended to have Hijama performed on the 17, 19, and 21 of the Islamic calendar, but if it is necessary it is permissible to do it. It is not recommended to have Hijama on Friday, Saturday, Sunday, or Wednesday. Also, according to the Sunnah, Hijama should be done at the back of the neck, and between the two shoulder blades as this connects the brain to the rest of the body and it brings oxygen into the brain and helps the body to repair itself. This is also the place where toxins accumulate. Moreover, it strengthens the lymphatic system. Some Syrian groups do Hijama on the two shoulder blades as opposed to the back of the neck, however, traditional Chinese medicine, as well as other ancient medicine, refer to the back of the neck.

Islamic Basis of Hijama

 The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said, “Cupping is the most helpful procedure for human beings to cure themselves.” (Al Bukhari, 5357, and Muslim 1577)

He (peace and blessings be upon him) also said, “If there is any good in your medical treatments, it is in the blade of the cupper, drinking honey…..” (Al Bukhari, 5356, and Muslim, 2205)

Success Stories

There have been many success stories with Hijama therapy. Kissoon had a cancer patient in the UK who was bedridden and the doctors had given up on her and she had come home to die. The doctors were about to send a doctor to her home to cut her spinal cord to stop her pain but this would mean that she would be paralyzed. After Hijama therapy this woman could stand up on a frame and the pain was much less. “This poor woman gained pain relief and immense strength,” says Kissoon, “and her husband and carers were amazed. Of course the doctors were amazed too!”

 Another woman could not get pregnant for five years and was thinking about IVF or fostering a child but after one Hijama treatment she got pregnant after just one month.

Why Certification in the UK?

 “Getting certification in the UK was very difficult,” commented Kissoon, “but I did it because I didn’t want it to be illegal as it is in other parts of the world.” Kissoon’s intention initially was to teach Hijama therapy to people and spread its benefit but when she delved a bit deeper she found that in the UK, cupping therapy is categorized under acupuncture and there were laws soon to be passed to make it illegal. Her struggle has been to change Hijama therapy from being categorized under ‘cupping’ therapy, to being a therapy in its own right.

 “If this law had been passed,” says Kissoon, “a person could only have learnt it if he practiced acupuncture and this would have forced it underground.”

 “The UK Acupuncture Foundation was very helpful,” commented Kissoon. The initial move to put Hijama therapy under Acupuncture was because there were people were who were doing it only for money and they were not doing it properly. Kissoon convinced them that it is a therapy of its own, and that it has its own laws that are based on the lunar calendar and that it is different from cupping. “After three years the Acupuncture Foundation helped me get certified,” says Kissoon happily. Now, the Association of Complementary Medicine sees Hijama therapy as an authentic medicine.

 Kissoon is still battling but this time it is in the field of insurance and she hopes that people will soon be medically insured under Hijama therapy, rather than Cupping therapy.

Furthermore, Kissoon has started a distance learning course on Hijama therapy that both Muslims and non-Muslims as well as professional and non-professional people are taking part in. “We are looking for individuals who are sensitive and caring. Hijama is not just a physical practice but the practitioner also has to deal with people’s emotions, trauma and various needs,” says Kissoon. The course is done through distance learning to make it easy for people overseas, those who have full time jobs and mothers. It includes emergency first aid, and covers information from the definition of Hijama therapy to customer care, how to deal with patients, code of ethics and the anatomy of the body. Kissoon comments, “The intention behind this six-month course is that the practitioner will have knowledge about how the body detoxifies and how the blood works so they can do Hijama therapy properly”.

Final Thoughts

“I hope that Hijama therapy will become mainstream and available in hospitals and alternative medicine clinics. I’d also like to see blood donors having a treatment before giving blood because one of the main benefits of Hijama therapy is cleansing the blood, so the results of blood transfusions will be better. I’d like to see it merged into mainstream medicine so everyone can benefit,” comments Kissoon.

Body, Mind & Soul