Integrative Medicine Research
integr med res 7 (2018) 214–218
Cupping therapy in Saudi Arabia: from control to integration
Mohamed K.M. Khalila, Sulaiman Al-Eidia, Meshary Al-Qaeda, Saud AlSanad
Cupping therapy or Hijamah is a leading traditional practice after spiritual healings and herbal medicine in Saudi Arabia. Wet cupping is by far the most common type of cup- ping therapy. Hijamah in Saudi Arabia and other Muslim countries is a model of religious influences, interconnectivity, and cross-cultural influences between different civilizations. Accordingly, differentiating the cupping practiced in Saudi Arabia, and other Muslims soci- eties from that practiced in other countries like China, by Korea only by the technique or cupping sites is an underestimation of the differences. In Saudi Arabia, the profile or char- acteristics of cupping therapy user is distinct from the profile of other traditional medicine users by being more educated, with higher job rank and not affected by nationality or gender. After an era of unregulated practice, cupping therapy is currently regulated and monitored by the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine in the Ministry of Health (NCCAM/MOH) of Saudi Arabia. Regulations and licensing include practitioners, practice place, and cupping equipment. After regulation, cupping is mainly offered by the private sector and paid directly by the client as insurance does not cover it. In the private sector, licensed cupping service is usually provided as a parallel and not an integrated service. However, there are few models of integrated cupping clinic in universities, academic insti- tutions, and governmental hospitals. Further health system research is needed to develop more models of integrated cupping service pending for the healthcare transformation which is going on in Saudi Arabia.