Cupping marks cannot be called bruises simply because of the way bruises are caused. Bruises appear when the body experiences some kind of blunt injury or trauma. The impact can break the blood capillaries present under the skin, which is why you see the redness. The body responds to the injuries with a rush of healing fluids to the area that also contribute to the bruising or redness. When the proteins at the injury site begin to coagulate, blood circulation reduces and the patient feels pain.

Cupping marks are caused by suction from the cupping set instead of the pressure in case of trauma, and works to bring toxins to the surface. The most important differentiating factor is the cupping marks do not cause pain and if there is any discomfort, it is minimal and goes away quickly.

What does cupping do?

Cupping draws stagnant blood and other fluids that has fallen out of healthy circulation up to skin the level and away from the injury so that healthy free circulation can be restored to the affected area. Being that skin is the body’s largest organ, it contains about 20% of your blood volume at any given time.

When a condition exists within a deeper muscle layer and is dredged up during treatment, discoloration will appear on the skin. As treatments cumulate and even though each time the cupping may focus on the same area, for the same duration, with the same amount of suction – less discoloration will appear over time

• Cupping is an excellent diagnostic method. We can use cupping to better understand whether the problem is toxin build up, muscle spasm, or something else. A nerve or bone issue will not produce any significant colour change.

•Cupping demonstrates the exact location of the problem since we usually cup an area larger than the pain centre to guarantee everything is covered. The area with the most significant amount of stagnation will have the deepest amount of colour. Even the area directly under a single cup will show variation whee a small part may colour while the rest does not.

• Cupping will tell us the severity of the problem. Moderate blockages cause the skin to become pink or red and generally take only take a day or two for the colour dissipate. Severe stagnation will produce a deep scarlet, purple, or even black discoloration which may take seven to ten days for the dark colour to disperse.

•Cupping can be used to help detox. Sometimes symptoms such as fatigue, lethargy, or headaches could be a symptom of toxic overload that your body is trying to manage. If you’ve been on medications long term, you need to be gentle with cupping because it will reintroduce substances locked in the muscle layer and you want to ensure your liver can properly breakdown anything that comes its way.

How long with the marks last for?

I advise patients to hope for an hour but prepare for 3 weeks! So always inform your practitioner of any big social events where the area will be exposed (even though it’s a pretty cool talking point!)

Fun Fact!

The dramatic marks seen on swimmers in the Olympics, though true athletes and healthy, most likely come from lactic acid build-up in addition to the toxins they’re exposed to from long hours in chlorinated pools. If they were on a less regimented exercise schedule out of the pool, the cup marks may not have been as entertaining!

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