Many people I talk to that haven't tried cupping usually ask this question first and foremost before learning more about what cupping is and does.
Are those bruises on their back?
Followed soon after with...
Do they hurt?
The marks left from the cups will always vary in colour and soreness depending on the stagnation and scar tissue in that area of the body.
What I will say is that the majority of people after trying their first cupping session are so impressed by the instant relief and increased range of mobility that the marks are not even an issue anymore.
The more treatments patients come in for, the circle marks become more of a guide of how well their muscles are improving and strengthening as you will learn why below.
A little background on Cupping itself...
When injuries occur deep in the muscle, from a traumatic event or long-term use (sports or work), bleeding often occurs causing deep bruises. There will also be swelling around the injury, which will create a sticky protein, which then causes adhesions in the muscle.
The deep bruise and swelling results in stagnation of circulation to the injured area and is felt as pain, lack of range of motion, and other chronic conditions.
The vacuum that the cups have on the body helps to separate the skin, fascia and muscle, allowing the non-circulating stagnant blood and toxins from the injured area to come up to the surface of the skin to be flushed out.
These toxins that come to the surface are the "bruise" or cupping marks that you will see on your skin afterwards. There has not been any trauma to your skin, there will be NO RESIDUAL PAIN, however, the MARK (BRUISE) can remain and depending on how deep the release is you may feel some soreness in that area.
It is especially important to drink lots of water post-treatment, to eliminate the toxins completely from your body.
When the old toxins are removed it creates space for oxygen, blood, and lymphatic fluids to now flow easier to and through the injured area to help promote healing and ease of movement.
When you receive Cupping frequently...
The more often you receive cupping treatments the less likely you are to have those dark marks as the old stagnation has already been brought up to the surface and we are able to start repairing and strengthening your muscles to prevent further damage / scar tissue. I use the marks as insight into your muscles and areas that need further treatment.
The darker the mark, the more chronic (longer time) the injury has been an issue, as there are more toxins being brought up to the surface.
Usually, we can see dark purple marks at the beginning and then as the treatments continue they move to a darker red, then fresher red, to no marks at all.
How long do the marks last?
Generally, after repeated sessions, the colour does fade, and the marks usually last from a couple of days to a couple of weeks.
I always encourage patients to take pictures and document the progress after each treatment
as it is a great way to go back and see the improvement in that area of their body!
Below is a series of images I took for one patient (and am posting with their permission) to show them their progress. The picture on the far left is their first cupping treatment and then the one on the far right is their most recent.
As you can see their lower back seems to be improving since it is not as red but their neck is still an area that needs help because it is consistently showing a deeper red mark.
This isn't uncommon since most people hold their stress in their neck, it may always be an area that gets treated just for the stress release aspect of the treatment.
Are you ready to try Cupping yourself?
Book an Appointment today and let's get you on the path of living pain-free, with increased mobility and flexibility so you can keep doing the things you love on a daily basis.
If you want more information about Cupping and the history of this modality please click here to read my blog all about it :)