What are the marks?
The most common misunderstanding regarding the after-effects of massage cupping is the potential for “bruising” to result, however it’s very important to know the difference between “marks and “bruises”. Bruises result from a blunt force trauma, resulting in damaged tissue and broken blood vessels. Marks typically are a result of dead or stagnant blood, solid bloat, sluggish or impeaded lymph flow, cellular debris, pathogenic factors, and toxins are present in the body, cupping can leave marks which indicate that the stagnation or disease has been moved from the deeper tissue layers to the surface, allowing fresh oxygenated blood to nourish and heal the underlying areas.
In some industrialized countries where allopathic medicine has over-shadowed more holistic, natural approaches, these surface discolorations are misinterpreted as damage rather than the result of toxic agents being drawn to the surface. Westerners also live in an image conscious society that has a heightened sensitivity to domestic abuse. Without sufficient understanding, some people are unnerved seeing this after-effect. Once people understand that these marks are therapeutic and feel the results, many concerns dissipate. The marks that can occur are a measurable result of healing that has begun.
The color and pattern of the marks depend on the level of stagnation in the area, and range from a bright red to dark purple, usually lasting 3 days to one week; sometimes longer if the person is in a state of chronic congestion or leads a sedentary lifestyle. If there is no stagnation present, there will be only a light pink mark that disappears in a few minutes to a few of hours. Sites where there is old trauma or injury may require multiple cupping treatments to remove all stagnation. You will find in follow up treatments the marks will be visibly lighter and lighter as the pathogens are systemically removed from the body.
Does MC hurt?
Just like positive deep tissue massage if the area being treated is injured, in a state of chronic stress, is adhered, or hypertonic; MC can hurt in a like manner that normal massage can. It is very important that you see a therapist who has had specialty training in MC and a practitioner who you trust, an open line of communication, especially in the beginning of your exposure to MC, is paramount.
Simply put, yes MC can hurt, however it doesn’t need to. With continued treatment with MC and other massage modalities, healthy lifestyle, and seeing an educated practitioner you should enjoy your MC experience every time.