What do dark cupping marks indicate? How long they will last?

What is cupping

Cupping therapy, as an ancient physical treatment, has been becoming a popular healthcare method all around the world. The mechanism of this therapy is quite easy. To simplify, Cupping uses various methods to remove the air from a container to a negative pressure, which makes the cups to be firmly sucked on the skin. Through suction and release, cupping causes local tissue congestion or stagnation, which promotes local blood circulation, expels toxins and inflammation, and therefore it relieves the muscle pain and soreness.



Why cupping marks appear after a cupping therapy

After cupping, redness or dark colors generally appears, which are the so-called cupping marks. The colors of these marks are different, which indicates one’s physical condition to some extent. Traditional Chinese medicine believes that the dark cupping marks means that more toxins are removed out. However, from the perspective of modern medicine, the color of the cupping mark can only indicate the degree of capillary rupture and capillary bleeding under the skin. Therefore, some therapists argue that darker cupping marks should not be simply explained by too much toxins accumulated in our body. During cupping, negative pressure causes the skin and subcutaneous tissue to be squeezed into a cup, and this force causes the blood vessels to be broken, which forms the cupping marks. The more rupture, the more bleeding, and therefore redness or bruises will appear at the cupping areas.

cupping marks

It is true that the rupture of capillaries can speed up the excretion of toxins, but it is not that more is better. Moderate darkness of cupping marks appeared after cupping therapy indicates the activation of the immune system, and play an effect in inflammatory reduction and pain relief. However, serious dark cupping marks (purple or black) along with cupping bruises accompanied by pain means excessive capillary rupture which may play a counterproductive effect and will harm the body. In that case, you should decrease the cupping time or the negative pressure level.

cupping marks

How long do cupping marks last and how to make them going away faster

Some people do not care those marks from cupping. Famous swimmer Michael Phelps often takes those marks to participate in competitions, and he has mentioned many times in interviews that he is keen on cupping therapy, while there are people who do not like cupping marks to be displayed in public.

Michael Phelps cupping

So, do cupping marks go away? The answer is definitely yes. Normally marks from cupping will disappear or become very weak in one week, sometimes it may last longer, depends on individuals. If marks are on the back area, then no one will see them when we dressed, so there is no need to mind them at all. However, if marks are left after neck or leg cupping, it sometimes attracts people’s attention. So, how to get rid of cupping marks fast?

1. Hot compress

After cupping, applying hot compress with a towel can promote the patency of blood circulation, which accelerates the absorption of congestion so that speed up the fading of cupping therapy marks.

2. Massage with essential oils

Massage plays a similar role in congestion absorption which helps the cupping marks to fade away. It is important to get a gentle massage especially after cupping, because the skin at bruised areas is more vulnerable. Mixing essential oils with base oils as a massage medium can avoid skin abrasions and better control the massage intensity. In addition, the essential oils itself can also promote the recovery process.

cupping with oil

3. Red light therapy

Red light therapy (RLT) uses low-level wavelength red light to irradiate skin. Infrared rays can easily pass through the skin and cause thermal reactions to muscles and subcutaneous tissues, and therefore it plays a good role in inflammation reduction and local metabolism acceleration. RLT can also be a good aid in healing cupping bruises. However, anyway we should prevent excessive cupping, which may cause serious bruises with pain and even suppuration after cupping. Nowadays, Some electric cupping machines combine RLT with cupping therapy together, aiming at increasing the effectiveness of the treatment and also making the marks less dark after cupping therapy.

red light therapy

4. Bathing with hot water

When sometimes there is no condition for you to apply the above treatments, then simply taking a shower with hot water can be also effective to a certain extent. A hot water bathing temporarily increases the temperature on body surface and promote the blood circulation of the entire body, thereby speeding up the removal of congestion and therefore reducing the darkness of cupping therapy marks. But please aware that your pores will be fully opened after bathing, plus the body’s defense system after cupping has not completely recovered, at the moment, you must pay attention to keep warm to avoid coldness coming in.




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