Cupping Marks Explained: Duration, Significance, Colors and Removal

cupping marks explained

Cupping therapy, an ancient healing practice, has gained popularity in recent years for its numerous health benefits. One common aspect of cupping therapy that often raises questions is the appearance of cupping marks. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll delve into everything you need to know about cupping marks, including their causes, duration, diagnostic significance, and removal techniques.

What Are Cupping Marks?

Cupping marks, also known as “sha” in traditional Chinese medicine, are circular bruises or discolorations that appear on the skin after a cupping therapy session. Contrary to popular belief, these marks are not bruises but rather a result of the therapeutic suction created by the cups. They occur when blood vessels beneath the skin rupture, causing blood and lymphatic fluid to rise to the surface.

Why Does Cupping Leave Marks?

Understanding why cupping leaves marks requires insight into the underlying mechanisms of cupping therapy. The suction created by the cups draws stagnant blood, toxins, and cellular debris to the surface of the skin. This process helps to improve blood circulation, release muscle tension, and promote detoxification. Therefore, cupping marks are not indicative of injury but rather a natural response to the therapeutic process.

Understanding the Duration of Cupping Marks

Cupping marks vary in appearance, color, and duration depending on various factors, including the individual’s health status, skin type, and post-cupping care. On average, cupping marks typically last anywhere from a few days to a week. However, the duration can vary significantly from person to person.

How Long Do They Last?

The duration of cupping marks is influenced by factors such as the intensity of the cupping session, the individual’s blood circulation, and their post-cupping protocol. While some people may notice their marks fading within a few days, others may experience lingering discoloration for up to a week.

Why Are Some Darker?

The color of cupping marks can provide valuable insights into the individual’s health status. Light red marks often indicate healthy blood circulation, while darker shades of red, purple, or even black suggest varying degrees of stagnation, heat, or toxin accumulation in the body.

The Diagnostic Significance of Cupping Marks

In recent years, cupping therapists and healthcare providers have started to recognize the diagnostic significance of cupping marks. The timing and color of these marks can offer valuable clues about the individual’s health condition.

Unveiling the Secrets of These Marks

Experts suggest that cupping marks that emerge swiftly after a session may indicate recent or acute health issues, while those that take longer to appear may suggest chronic or deeper conditions. Additionally, the color of the marks can provide further insight into the nature of the underlying imbalance in the body.

Interpretation of Colors

Different colors of cupping marks signify different health conditions. For example, bright red marks may indicate recent conditions or the onset of a cold or flu, while darker, purple marks may indicate deep heat stagnation or toxin accumulation. As marks fade, they may turn brown or yellowish, which is considered normal in the healing process.

Removing Cupping Marks: Tips and Tricks

While cupping marks are a natural part of the therapy process and typically fade on their own, there are several strategies for reducing their visibility and speeding up the healing process.

How to Get Rid of Cupping Marks

Practical tips for diminishing cupping marks include staying hydrated, gently massaging the affected area, applying arnica cream, and engaging in light exercise to promote blood circulation and lymphatic drainage.

How to Make Cupping Marks Go Away Fast

Additional strategies for accelerating the disappearance of cupping marks include using topical vitamin K cream, applying cold compresses, and scheduling cupping therapy sessions strategically around important events where marks are not desired.


Cupping therapy offers a myriad of health benefits, but understanding the duration, appearance, and diagnostic significance of cupping marks is crucial for a positive experience.

By familiarizing yourself with the factors that influence cupping marks and adopting appropriate post-cupping care strategies, you can fully embrace the healing potential of this ancient practice. Remember, cupping marks are not bruises but rather a testament to the body’s natural healing response. Embrace them as a sign of progress on your wellness journey.

For further inquiries or to book an appointment, contact Soul Detox® at 718-333-5303 for a free, no-obligation consultation, or visit our cupping page to learn more.