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A Cupping Mark Is Not a Bruise

If you’ve been following us for a while, you’ll know that we love to incorporate the use of vacuum cups into our work. Thes litel silicone and polycarbonate cups are so useful.

We use these cups to work with areas of pain and to address restrictions in movement.  There’s lot’s of ways to use cups for massage too.  We can glide with the cup, get you to do things like squats or curls with cups in place and we can leave the cups in place for say 10 to 20 minutes.

Sometimes when using the cups, the areas we work on go red and this reddening usually disappears pretty quickly.  However, where a uscle is used a lot, or there was an injury then these areas can go surprisingly dark and leave a mark.  And it’s this cupping mark which can last for a a few days to a couple of weeks.

I want you to understand something, and that is that cupping marks are not a bruise. However, they might indicate that bruising, usually very deep bruising was once present.

When a muscle is injured then there is often bleeding. We see this a bruise – usually blackish in colour and then fading away as the haemagloben is absorbed back into the body.

What we don’t see is that there is sometimes coagulation involving sticky proteins. Sometimes these areas aren’t properly cleaned up by your bodies natural processes particularly when the injury is deep in the muscle. This then might result in a restriction of circulation and stagnation of that area.

The vacuum formed by cupping draws that sticky, old crud to the surface and away from the injury helping create change and promote normal and healthy circulation for faster recovery.  And the discolouration that you see is the evidence of dead cells, static blood, old lymph, and cellular debris.

The color and pattern of the marks depends on the amount and age of the crud in the area, and ranges from a bright red to dark purple, usually lasting 3 days to a week – sometimes longer if the person is very sick or sedentary.

If there is no crud present, there will be only a pink marking which disappears in a few minutes to a couple of hours.  And if the person receiving treatment sweats alot on a daily basis then no marks may ever occur.

If you have been sick, take large doses of medication or are exposed to environmental toxins, then you are more likely to mark from cupping.

Cupping is a wonderful therapy. Your therapist will talk to you before doing any cupping with you so don’t be afraid to ask questions. And if you plan to go out in shorts, skirt or a backless top … and you don’t like the look of the marks, then talk to your therapist.

David Clayton is the Principal Remedial Therapist at Myomasters Massage located in Hope Valley in the north east of Adelaide.  He has a passion for supporting humans to live the lives they were to born to live using massage and soft tissue therapies.  He has a particular interest in assisting people to recover from stress, anxiety and trauma using compassionate and nurturing touch.