A medical researcher from the Primary Health Care Department has suggested that a separate section for alternative medicine be set up within the public hospitals in Qatar.
“A national centre for alternative medicine research should also be established in the country,” urged Dr Mohamed Reslan.
He had recently carried out the first Qatari research on the effect of cupping therapy in treating chronic headache and back pain at Al Heijamah clinic at Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC).
The scientific investigation, which involved a team from HMC, took more than a year to complete and its results have been published in the Middle East Journal of Family Medicine.
The total number of the participants was 86, with 51.2% of them being male (51.2%). The majority was non-Qatari (72.1%); 37 of them had headache and 49 back pain.
Most of the participants were treated with wet cup therapy (98.8%) and only one of them was treated with dry cup. Fifty-two of the participants had one session of cupping while five completed all the four sessions.
The pain score for patients with headache was decreased from eight to four after cupping therapy followed by intermittent periods of fluctuating pain, scored from four to five for around five weeks, then it maintained constant at four score until the end of the follow-up period.
Meanwhile, the pain scale for patients with low back pain decreased from seven to three after two weeks and stayed constant until the end of the 12 weeks, Reslan explained.
It is claimed this is the first study of its kind, in the Middle East and elsewhere in the world, which discusses cupping therapy mechanism as a scientific theory capable of laboratorial investigation and application and establishes specific criteria for quantity of blood withdrawn at each session, frequency of cupping and the power of blood aspiration in any single session.
Reslan also recommends in-depth studies on cupping therapy for its impact on the individual and community health and its direct dealing with blood. He has encouraged the use of cupping therapy for treatment of chronic severe pain, particularly in cases where no surgical intervention is available and cases with no satisfactory response to medications.
However, Reslan has urged caution from using cupping therapy in treating cases that require blood transfusion, anaemic and hemorrhagic cases, or any case not properly diagnosed as well as cases of varicose veins, varicocele, diabetes, thyropathy or epilepsy.