Hijama for the Elderly



Hijama is a safe and easy treatment with usually little or no negative side effects that can be done on almost anyone. When it comes to the elderly however there are some factors that should be taken into consideration as hijama is a holistic therapy and is based on looking at the overall health of the client. As a result of this we have to take care to look at how comfortable the client feels with having the treatment as this will more than likely have an impact on how good they feel and the healing process.


Elderly people often have thinner skin and the suction of the cups may cause an unnecessary pain for them. It really is important to weigh up if it is worth doing hijama for them.


Be careful making the incisions on the elderly because even thought their skin may be thinner at times it could also be more tough. It can also be more difficult to get a smooth incision on skin that is wrinkly than it is on smooth skin.


You will find that some people even though considered elderly have exceptionally good skin. Usually those with darker skin and/or fuller figures have very good quality skin and really enjoy having hijama and do not find it painful at all.


Make sure the client knows what the hijama entails and why they are having it. Spend enough time talking to them to find out what their ailments are and explain how hijama can help them. Sometimes the elder clients have many health conditions including being overweight, having diabetes and arthritis for example, if this is the case it could be that doing hijama will have benefits but without adjustments to their diet or an increase in exercise the benefits are unlikely to be sustained.


A client who is not willing to lose weight in order to ease the pain in their knees may rely fully on hijama to completely cure them of their pain because they know it’s a sunnah. Then when they don’t feel any or very little improvement they feel that hijama is not a beneficial treatment.


I have had this experience with a client. She was in her late fifties but due to being heavily overweight she was suffering with a lot of knee pain and had started to rely on a cane to walk. After about 3 sessions of hijama over about 6 months she complained that the pain in her knees had only lessened temporarily and just came back after a few days.


I gently explained to her that due to her being overweight it was inevitable that she would continue to have pain in her knees as she had arthritis and the excessive weight was increasing the burden on her joints. She instead chose to blame the hijama for not feeling better and in the end stopped having treatment.


It can be very hard for some clients regardless of their age to sometimes accept that their bad health is a result of their unhealthy lifestyle as a whole and that a few sessions of hijama will not be able to magically make it ok.


You can try your best to advise them and if they live with family try to get them to help them eat healthier and try to go out for regular walks if possible. Be very gentle with them as they are your elders and they of course do not appreciate being talked down to. Just show them that you care and genuinely want the best for them.


If after treating them you feel that they are suitable to keep having hijama treatments then proceed to try and make follow up appointments with them but only if they are happy to do so of course. Don’t be pushy about it. Just encourage them gently, sometimes this can help them to have hope and try to adjust some of their habits even though it is very difficult.


Another thing to take into consideration is that many elderly don’t like being fiddled with or fussed over. It could be that a family member who has had hijama previously has advised them to do so for pain in their joints or muscles for example. However, you must remember that if the elderly client has never had hijama before and has medical conditions they are most likely to be taking an abundance of medications.


Of course as hijama practitioners we cannot advise clients to stop talking their prescribed medications and you may notice that their blood will look quite dark depending on how good or bad their diet is. I have noticed that sometimes with healthy eating and good water intake of the client the blood may not be that dirty even though they are on regular medications.


Some aunties really enjoy having hijama and I find that in the Muslim community many of the older sisters just enjoy the fact that someone is coming to take care of them and give them company. It’s a lot more than just doing the hijama, it’s a cup of tea or some food and a chat.

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