(Persia Digest) – The beginning of spring prompts certain Iranians to take to venesection the traditional medicine way. They believe that in the mild weather during this season the body begins to move and dispose of the waste accumulated during winter and bloodletting can help the process and prevent diseases.

This traditional treatment is said to have come from the Chinese Gua-sha practice where the skin is scraped to produce light petechiae. In the old days, Iranians turned to venesection – old and young - in the spring and called it the eid of blood. They believed that bloodletting disposed of toxins in the body and prevented diseases. According to legend, the Sassanid King Bahram Gur, saw the only treatment for his illness to be venesection and ordered it to be practiced across Persia.

Following the advent of Islam in Iran, this remained an important curing method. It is named in books by Iranian physicians such as Zakaria Razi in his “Al Havi” book, Avicenna in his “Canon of Medicine”, and Seyed Esmail Jorjani in his book “Zakhiraye Khwarazmshahi” [Treasure dedicated to the king of Khwarazm].

Nevertheless, a lack of scientific evidence on the effectiveness of this method and its potential dangers, such as the transmission of infection and the risk of hemorrhage, led the Ministry of Health to ban the practice in October 1998. However, the directive was canceled by the jurisprudence of the Guardian Council due to a violation of Sharia law through the ruling of the Administrative Justice Court in July 2001. Now it is approved and practiced by alternative medicine practitioners.

Bloodletting takes place in the two dry and wet forms; in the wet form, the patient is examined and a location for the bloodletting is chosen, disinfected, and cupping is applied with disposable cups for a few minutes. Then, a few scratches are made and blood is let out 3-5 times according to the patient’s physical condition. The entire process takes 20 minutes and an average of 50-70 cc of blood is taken. In dry cupping no blood is taken.


Photos: Jafar Kabutari/Hamshahri Photo Agency

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