Can Hijama (cupping) treat varicose veins?

Greetings, dear readers

Many find them alarming to look at, particularly those that have no idea as to what they might be. Some pay to have them surgically removed for cosmetic reasons. Others are forced to seek treatment due to the development of health complications. Despite being associated with old age, varicose veins are just as likely to occur as a result of inactivity and obesity. By knowing what causes them to form, it is possible to identify varicose veins and reduce the risk of developing them later on in life. To do so, a basic understanding of the circulatory system is necessary.

When the heart beats, it pumps blood out through the arteries that extend to the rest of the body, including the limbs. The cells then make use of nutrients and oxygen brought by blood cells and off load cellular waste onto them before they are transported back to the heart via the veins. The pressure behind the blood, caused by the heart clenching, lessens as blood cells reach the veins and fight against gravity to return to the heart. Due to this, blood found in the veins or venous blood often moves slower and tends to flow backwards instead of forwards, leading to what has been medically identified as retrograde flow or venous reflux. Unlike arteries, veins need small valves to prevent this from happening. These valves, found at intervals along the length of a vein, only open to allow blood flow towards the heart and stop it from going the opposite way.

Varicose veins are quite distinct in appearance (1)

Varicose veins occur when some of these valves weaken and stop functioning properly, a health issue also known as valvular incompetence. Venous reflux can cause blood to gather in certain sections of the vein, usually in between faulty valves and those that function. The significant amount of amassed blood can stretch the walls of the vein and make them appear swollen and enlarged beneath the skin. Varicose veins often occur in superficial veins, which are closer to the surface of the skin, rather than deep veins, due to the high pressure placed upon them while a person is standing. Once they start walking, deep veins in the leg are squeezed by the muscles around them, therefore reducing the possibility of venous reflux further.

Valvular incompetence. And no, we’re not being mean to valves. That’s actually what it’s called (2)

People with varicose veins tend to notice lumpy, bulging, discoloured, thread-like or twisted veins on the back of their calves or along the inner side of their legs, which range from dark blue and green to purple and red in colour. Though normally painless, there are a few symptoms commonly associated with varicose veins, such as:

  • pain, muscle cramps or mild discomfort in the legs
  • heavy, aching, burning, swollen or throbbing legs
  • dry, itchy or thin skin over the affected vein

Varicose veins are divided into several categories, normally according to the size and placement of the vein that has been affected. Trunk, reticular and telangiectasia, also known as thread or spider veins, are all different types of varicose veins. Although often located in the legs, they can occur in other parts of the body such as the oesophagus, uterus, pelvis and rectum. Warm weather or long periods of standing still can worsen varicose veins whereas walking around or resting with elevated legs can improve them.

Spider or thread veins may look very different but they are varicose veins all the same (3)

After taking the aforementioned information into consideration, it may be easier to understand why Hijama cannot be used to get rid of varicose veins or reverse their appearance. In fact, we believe that performing Hijama upon varicose veins is dangerous, due to the increased pressure it places upon vein walls that have already started to lose their elasticity. The negative pressure applied by the pump during a Hijama treatment, along with the internal pressure of accumulated blood, could cause the vein to rupture. Ruptured veins can lead severe and potentially fatal blood loss, which would put the patient’s life at risk unnecessarily.

Though it may be hazardous to place cups directly onto them, at Pure Therapy Clinic we believe it is possible to improve an individual’s blood circulation by treating their systemic points, thus reducing the risk of developing more varicose veins. In addition to this, cups can be placed​ close to the veins to treat any resulting symptoms, such as heaviness and pain in the lower legs.

We hope that this information has benefitted you, our dear readers, and we would love to hear from you. Comments, questions and weekly topic suggestions are always welcomed and greatly appreciated.

Thank you for reading!

The Pure Therapy Team

Images referenced from:

10 thoughts on “Can Hijama (cupping) treat varicose veins?

    1. Hi Elif,

      Thank you for your question.

      It is dangerous to treat varicose veins by placing cups directly onto them. However, it may be possible to improve an individual’s blood circulation by treating their systemic points, thus reducing the risk of developing more varicose veins.

      In addition to this, cups can be placed​ close to the veins to treat any resulting symptoms, such as heaviness and pain in the lower legs.

      I hope this answers your question. If not, we’re here to answer any more you might have 🙂


      1. is it ok to use cupping anywhere As long as the veins cannot be seen? additionally I saw a treatment where small spider veins dissappeared within seconds while cupping on top of them, is it even dangerous with very small veins?

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Hi Shanon

        There are certain parts of the human body that should not be cupped at all such as the eyes, mouth an other similarly sensitive areas. Some places may be be treated with cupping but only in very specific cases or only with a particular type of cupping.

        As for the treatment that you saw, it may be possible for Hijama to correct dysfunctional valves in very small veins but I personally would be wary of doing this due to the possibility of unforeseen complications in the future. If you saw that treatment in a video and you still have access to it, would you mind posting it in the comments? I would like to have a look at such a procedure myself.

        Thank you so much for your question 🙂 If you have any others, you know where we are!


  1. I hate to make you repeat yourself! But I do have a varicose vein on my left leg; it is visibly the worst around my knee, and the begins to disappear as it crosses my quad diagonally. Is it safe to use the cups around the vein? Or where the vein is less visible? Or right next to the vein itself?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Ashley
      I don’t mind repeating myself. It’s important for people to be clear about what they should and shouldn’t do when it comes to hijama.
      It would be better to cup around the vein, as far from it as possible. Just try to make sure that the cup isn’t placed directly onto any part of the varicose vein because that could result in it rupturing.
      Thank you for your question! If you have any more, you know where to send them.


  2. In these days, many people are suffering from varicose veins. Varicose veins are also called as Spider Veins. Generally, women suffer from this problem. In this condition, the veins get blue or purple color. To get rid of this problem, you should consult with doctor. Who can suggest you better. otherwise, you can wear compression stockings to get rid of varicose veins. Even doctors also recommend these stockings to use on daily basis. Thanks for sharing!


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