Hijama (cupping) and the Muscular System

Greetings, dear readers

There are over 650 different muscles in the human body, ranging from small fibres that control the movement of the eyes to large bands that support the structure of the spine. Muscles come in a variety of shapes and sizes, covering the body almost entirely from head to toe. The main function of the muscular system is to facilitate movement of the body, since muscles are the only bodily tissues that can contract and move other body parts. The secondary function of the muscular system is the maintenance of posture and position of the body. Due to the number of individual muscles and the complexity of their combined performance, it is no surprise that problems related to the muscular system are one of the most common complaints at our Hijama clinic.

Before we delve into the issues that our patients bring to us regarding their muscles, we will first cover the basic structure of a muscle. The study of the structure, arrangement and action of the muscles is called myology, which is why conditions involving the muscular system such as fibromyalgia and myofascial pain syndrome have the letters ‘mya-‘ or ‘myo-‘ somewhere in their names. Each muscle is made up of muscle tissue as well as connective, nerve and vascular tissue. The main part or body of a muscle is often referred to as its ‘belly’ whereas the tissues connecting it to its respective bones are called tendons. Problems can occur in both parts of the muscle, separately and simultaneously, such as:

  • Spasms or contractions

  • Myasthenia or weakness

  • Atrophy or degeneration

  • Trigger point formation

  • Tendonitis

  • Fibromyalgia

  • Myofascial pain syndrome


What it looks like. Red = muscle. White = tendon (1)

Sometimes, the dysfunction of one muscle forces other muscles to work together or harder in order to compensate for the lack of movement. Eventually, this can lead to those muscles spasming from long periods of over-working, which causes the muscle to either rapidly contract and relax or remain in a shortened state. It can also result in weakness of the damaged muscle, which may stay in a loosened or stretched out state, and atrophy, which is when the muscle tissue starts to waste away after extended periods of inactivity or due to another health condition.

In a nutshell, atrophy can be frustrating (2)

Trigger points, also known as ‘knots’, can form when layers of skin, muscle and another type of tissue called fascia stick together painfully. Other causes include hyper-sensitivity of specific muscle fibres, repetitive stress or anxiety or injury to the muscle itself. These trigger points usually occur in the belly of the muscle and can restrict movement significantly. Tendonitis is the inflammation of the connective tissue attaching the muscle to the bone on either end. As a result of the inflammation, the affected area may become swollen and warm to the touch. Movement of the relative limb may be restricted and painful if forced.

Multiple trigger points can form in one place (3)

Both fibromyalgia and myofascial pain syndrome are considered chronic pain conditions. Whereas myofascial pain syndrome is linked to the repeated formation of trigger points that cause apparently unrelated pain in other parts of the body when pressed, the exact cause of fibromyalgia is unknown. However, both conditions have been associated with prolonged stress on the body or psychological issues such as anxiety or depression.

Can be caused by repetitive or sudden movements (4)

How does Hijama help with the aforementioned muscular problems and similar disorders? Whilst a muscle cannot be stretched past its original length, its fibres can be relaxed to the fullest extent by both static dry cupping, which follows the entire Hijama procedure without scratches being made in the skin, and massage cupping, which makes use of extra oil and reaches the deeper tissues of the body by applying continuous pressure to the required expanse of skin. This form of Hijama can remove the adhesions between skin, muscle and fascia that cause trigger points and separate the individual layers. Active release cupping, which has been developed from the active release technique (ART), involves the practitioner manually stretching the muscles around the area of pain and helping the patient build up their tolerance or overcome their fear of certain movements that they find painful.

Its symptoms are not limited to muscle aches and pains (5)

When scratches are applied to the skin, Hijama can further reduce the symptoms of muscular problems by assisting nutritious and gaseous exchange between blood and muscle cells, enabling them to function correctly, and re-activating the lymphatic drainage system. By physically removing waste from the muscle tissue, the practitioner can dilute the inflammation from conditions such as tendonitis and reduce pressure upon the cells, encouraging them to repair and grow after degeneration or weakness. Due to the reasons mentioned above, Hijama can be a highly effective treatment for all kinds problems related to the muscular system and all structures linked to it.

We hope that this information has benefitted you, our dear readers.

Thank you for reading!

The Pure Therapy Team

Images referenced from:
(1) http://www.fotopoulosphysio.com/uploads/8/1/3/4/8134667/3696449.jpg?438
(2) http://www.hughston.com/hha/b_14_2_3a.jpg
(3) http://www.triggerpointtherapy.com.au/images/tp_microscopic_view.jpg
(4) http://coloradofootinstitute.com/wp-content/themes/agency/images/achillesframe3.jpg
(5) http://www.commdiginews.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/fibromyalgia2.jpg

6 thoughts on “Hijama (cupping) and the Muscular System

    1. Hello Akjel/Saidul
      According to our understanding, health conditions related to the reproductive organs can be treated by placing cups on all of the following sites:
      the systemic or sunnah points (found on the upper back)
      the reproductive points (found very low down on the back – with one on either side of the spine and a third directly at the bottom on the spine, right above the intergluteal cleft)

      You may also benefit from treating the kidney points, located on the middle of the back, to remove excess toxins that could hinder your recovery. I hope this helps :-).
      Thank you for your question!


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