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Cupping marks can be red or purple, and are round marks left over as a result of the suction occurring throughout a treatment. Cupping marks are commonly seen on athletes, Hollywood actors, and others who use cupping.

Cupping marks are perhaps most famous when they appeared on Olympic gold medal winner Michael Phelps during the Summer Olympics in 2016. When he showed up with his shirt off and numerous round marks occupying his body, obviously there were questions. The media jumped all over it and introduced much of North America to cupping, an ancient form of Chinese medicine.

What are the benefits of cupping?

Cupping involves using a cup to suction tissue upwards, allowing new, fresh blood to flow into an area. In some way, it’s like the opposite of a massage– a massage presses downwards while cupping suctions upwards. The suction it creates not only stimulates blood flow but is believed to help with pain relief and has other health benefits.

The cup placed on the skin can be glass or something similar, although many consumers enjoy using silicone. Although the suction is tolerable for the patient undergoing a treatment, direct on the skin, it suctions blood to the surface similar to what a hickey does. Left behind is are or purple marks staining the skin for a week or less roughly.

Some practitioners believe the darker the marks on the body, the more evidence cupping treatment worked. That said, not all people walk away with marks. And some have marks which last only a day or less.

How long does it take for cupping marks to go away?

So all in all, the marks are not a sign of bruising or damage but are a direct result of treatment. After all, you’re creating suction, and it’s this which breaks capillaries and small blood vessels beneath the skin. It is identical to what would happen if you turned to your bicep and sucked on it.

Is cupping safe?

Now, there are two types of cupping – wet and dry. Wet cupping involves making incisions inside a suction cup, causing small amounts of blood to come out. Evidently, this leaves more of a cupping mark than dry, which is simply the suction alone. Regarding dry cupping, it can be performed in a single area, known as static cupping, or by moving the cup around to several places on the body which is more akin to a massage.

Cupping’s over 3,000 years old and has been used by the Chinese, Koreans, Japanese, Persians, Egyptians, and Greeks. Even Hippocrates, the father of medicine, used it. In fact, cupping was discovered completely independently by the Chinese and Egyptians thousands of years ago. Needless to say, with the benefits and amount of people it’s helped, we hope cupping’s tried by more Canadians looking for relief from things like sore muscles, chronic pain, and health issues.

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