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Comparative Clinical Evaluation of Hijaamah (Cupping Therapy) in the Treatment of Knee Osteoarthritis

Zaki Ahmad Siddiqui, Abdul Mannan, B.D. Khan, *Asia Sultana and Shabana Siddiqui

Hippocratic Journal of Unani Medicine
Hippocratic Journal of Unani Medicine April - June 2015, Vol. 10 No. 3, Pages 25-41


In Unani medicine, Hijaamah (Cupping Therapy) has been traditionally used for variety of applications including management of osteoarthritis, the most common form of arthritis and is a major cause of morbidity, limitation of activity, and healthcare utilization, especially in elderly patients. Although this treatment approach has been used for many centuries, there is little scientific data on its effectiveness. The aim of this study was to validate the efficacy of cupping therapy in knee osteoarthritis. This study was a randomized parallel group comparative trial conducted with the approval of Institutional ethical committee, to compare the combined efficacy of cupping therapy (Ilaj-bil-Hijamat) and the traditional Unani herbal formulations against the same traditional formulation alone. Intervention was carried out in 40 patients, 20 in each group completed the study over a period of 6 weeks. The outcome measures included; Visual Analogue Scale (VAS), Knee injury and osteoarthritis outcome score (KOOS), range of motion, and 15- meter walking time were used to assess clinical efficacy. The test group received cupping therapy along with a Unani formulation. The other group (control) received the Unani formulation only. The test group demonstrated highly significant improvements in evaluated parameters when compared with baseline values. Statistically significant differences were observed in KOOS total score and its sub scores (P<.001), VAS (P<.001) at the 6th week when compared with the control group. The Cupping therapy seems to be an effective treatment for reducing pain and other symptoms of knee osteoarthritis and improving physical function with no major adverse effects.

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