What does the color indicate in cupping?

After a cupping session concludes and the cups are removed, round marks will always be visible. This is a normal outcome of the treatment and nothing to worry about. It’s also painless. However, the color of these marks may vary from person to person and even from one treatment to another.

A certain degree of discoloration is a typical outcome. Cupping draws more blood to a specific area, resulting in a rosy hue. If the vacuum pressure is strong, it may cause minor capillary damage, leading to subcutaneous bruising.

Chinese medicine offers an elaborate theory on the significance of post-cupping discoloration. According to this theory, “the darker the color, the more stagnation exists.” Accumulated toxins increase pressure in the capillaries, pushing blood cells closer to the surface, resulting in a darker hue.

The treatment dictates the color.

It’s essential to note that the type of treatment significantly influences the resulting color. Greater suction strength tends to produce darker marks compared to lighter suction. The duration of the treatment also plays a significant role, as does the patient’s gender and age. These are all crucial factors to consider before making any diagnoses based solely on the resulting color.

Only after treating the same individual multiple times can one draw conclusions about the post-cupping color. Often, initial discoloration is darker, but with subsequent treatments, it tends to lighten. Even with consistent suction strength, this occurs due to improved circulation, reduced adhesions in connective tissue, and mobilization of toxins. The fine capillaries become more adept at filling and emptying during each session.

Different colors on the same person.

When cupping an entire back, some areas may appear significantly darker than others. This phenomenon is often observed in patients with localized back pain. For instance, while most of the back may exhibit pink spots, one or two purple spots may stand out, despite consistent suction pressure across the area.

This indicates compromised circulation in those specific areas, possibly due to adhesions or toxin buildup. Such areas may require more frequent cupping, with subsequent sessions resulting in lighter discoloration.

Different colors on the same person.

Pink color.

A pink hue is the desired outcome post-cupping. It signifies good blood circulation and minimal stagnation. Typically, this color fades within one to two days, although it may initially appear lighter immediately after treatment and darken slightly throughout the day.

Red color.

A red hue indicates a higher concentration of toxins or reduced circulation. Increased pressure in the capillaries deepens the color. According to Chinese medicine, redness may also indicate Heat, which cupping can help dissipate. These marks may take longer to fade, lasting from three to six days.

Purple color.

Purple marks suggest severely compromised circulation in that area, leading to intense discoloration. Individuals with chronic issues often exhibit deep red to purple marks initially. Continued cupping sessions are recommended until the color post-treatment turns pink or light red, which typically requires five to ten sessions. Those experiencing purple discoloration should expect it to persist for five to fourteen days post-treatment.

Pale color.

While one might assume that a pale color indicates unimpeded circulation, it often signifies deficiency according to Chinese medicine. A lack of energy, blood, or fluids leads to poor circulation. This can be compared to a rapidly flowing river versus a nearly dry stream. A pale color reflects deficiency. In addition to cupping for improved circulation, dietary supplements, herbs, or other interventions may be considered.

Coffee pads.

Sometimes, rather than round marks, swollen areas resembling coffee pads may appear post-cupping. In Chinese medicine, such swelling or areas oozing moisture are linked to Dampness. Dampness refers to excessive mucus, stickiness, or moisture due to dietary habits or external factors. For instance, living in a damp environment or experiencing high humidity in the fall can lead to bodily retention of moisture, resulting in symptoms like swollen eyes, sinus congestion, or a feeling of heaviness in the head. Dampness induces lethargy, fatigue, mental fogginess, and serves as a precursor to many illnesses. If someone experiences “coffee pads” after cupping, lifestyle adjustments are advised.