Learning Objective: Identify Cupping Marks and Demonstrate Plateau Monitoring

Skin Discoloration Marks

Where there is static blood, lymph, cellular debris, pathogenic factors, and toxins present in the body, cupping may leave skin discoloration marks. Marks indicate that stagnation has been moved from the deeper tissue layers to the surface. The marks are the result of having internal unwanted toxins pulled up to the skin. 

The marks are used as a diagnostic indicator based on the hue and/or pattern of the mark. The color and pattern of the marks depend on the level of stagnation beneath the cup.

  • A light pink mark represents no stagnation present and should disappear within a few hours. 
  • The deeper hue of the mark indicates the greater level of stagnation and toxicity that needs to be purged from the body and the longer the mark will remain visible. 
  • Sites where there is old trauma or injury may require multiple treatments to remove all stagnation and have a deep purple hue. 
  • White or light color indicates a deficient condition or poor circulation. 

The deposits will lessen in intensity as the deeper issues are resolved and the stagnations and toxins have been dredged up and flushed out of the body.  

Skin Discoloration Marks Are Not Bruises

A common misconception is that the mark is a bruise. A bruise is an injury appearing as an area of discolored skin on the body, caused by a blow or impact rupturing underlying blood vessels. The skin discoloration mark is ecchymosis, which is local leakage of blood into the skin from the capillaries through pulling, in this case from negative pressure, and is mostly painless. The marks fade away without turning another color as with bruising.