THIRTY-FIVE medical practitioners in the kingdom are being trained in cupping therapy, in a first-of-its-kind programme organised by the National Health Regulatory Authority (NHRA).
Doctors, nurses, physiotherapists and alternative medicine practitioners in the country are taking part in the course, which will allow them to officially offer their services and carry a certificate to prove their proficiency.
The training concludes today at the Downtown Rotana Manama, under the patronage of NHRA chief executive Dr Mariam Al Jalahma, organised in collaboration with Education Plus.
The therapy involves an old traditional method of placing cups made of glass, bamboo, or other materials on specific areas of the body to treat different conditions. The cups create a suction effect to help treat inflammation, increase blood circulation, help with pain, and as a form of massage therapy.
Wet cupping, also known as hijama, involves cutting the skin and using suction to remove blood from various parts of the body. In dry cupping, a plastic or glass cup is placed on the skin, then the air inside the cup is suctioned or vacuumed out.
“The programme is part of legalising hijama and the first time that we have organised such a training session in Bahrain,” (NHRA) Allied Medical Profession adviser Namat Al Subaie told the GDN. “As we know, there are no institutes or schools to cover this type of healing in the country. In the past people would have to go to Saudi Arabia to attend alternative medicine centres mainly in Riyadh, attend holistic centres in Sharjah, or travel further afield to countries like Georgia.
“The participants will get a training certificate which helps them practice here in Bahrain and provides confidence to those seeking treatment.”
Listed among the 13 complementary and alternative medicine genres under the NHRA, there are currently around 70 permitted hijama practitioners in Bahrain, but only a few are licensed to practice at local health centres.
The GDN has earlier reported on NHRA aiming to regulate the practice of traditional cupping therapy, to ensure safe and hygienic practices in terms of the regulated disposal of the medical waste, including blood. Many practitioners provide the alternative treatment from their own homes, leading to concerns that not all observe essential hygiene and safety standards.
“With this training, carried out by an accredited expert from the UAE, we will have 35 medics/practitioners proficient in cupping adding value to the treatment options available, and in much demand, in the country,” explained Ms Al Subaie. “It’s a proficiency that’s related especially to alternative medicine options.
“Dry cupping helps in addressing various ailments including muscle spasm, back ache, shoulder pain and frozen shoulder. Wet cupping can be helpful with different types of conditions, especially for fertility-related concerns, ovary cysts and migraines, and even for controlling blood pressure and diabetes.
“A trained therapist can also guide the patient to the right medical genre and specialist if symptoms persist. The NHRA will also look into the possibility of extending the training to those interested who could also assist the authority’s inspection teams to help identify any challenges or issues in the future and maintain high standards.
“With such advancements, we will be better able to cater to local clients and patients from the region and beyond.”