Healthcare | Wednesday 18 February, 2015 8:07 am |
MoH to license cupping centers
The Ministry of Health plans to issue new regulations governing the licensing of medical practitioners who want to provide cupping therapy in the Kingdom. Cupping is a traditional healing method that has been used for centuries by the Chinese and Arabs. Practitioners believe that placing heated cups on various parts of the body stimulates the flow of blood and energy, which heals a variety of ailments.
The government has decided to withdraw the licenses of 1,000 cupping therapists that were initially granted by the Ministry of Municipal and Rural Affairs. Speaking at a press conference in Riyadh on Tuesday, Executive Director of the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine Abdullah Al-Bedah said the ministry has decided to issue licenses based on new criteria drawn from studies and international experiences. He said the ministry has contracted a private company to handle all applications online. “This program is in the final stages and will be available publicly in the next few days,” he said. During the first phase of the licensing period, the ministry would consider applications from registered medical practitioners and paramedics. They would then have to undergo training in cupping therapy.
Centers must have trained doctors, physiotherapists or nurses recognized by the Saudi Commission for Health Specialties. Al-Bedah said the new centers would ensure treatment takes place in a hygienic environment, so that people do not go to barber shops and homes of untrained individuals. Al-Bedah said the ministry would not allow cupping therapy for children under 12 years of age, cancer and renal patients, those undergoing chemotherapy and radiotherapy treatment, and people who have chronic liver ailments.
The ministry would conduct periodic inspections of the licensed centers and violators could face fines or have their establishments closed down. The ministry would deploy a team of seven inspectors, which would be expanded depending on the number of centers licensed. He said that those entrepreneurs wishing to invest in this form of therapy should have medical practitioners to staff their facilities.