Cupping Marks, Are They Bruises? A Scientific Review
A re bruises and cupping marks the same? To the naked eye, they look the same
By definition, a bruise is an area of skin discoloration resulting from small blood vessels breaking and leaking blood into the soft tissue underneath the skin. The diagram below shows a section of the skin with damaged blood vessels.
Source: Jetson Medical Text Book
There is an ongoing debate about whether cupping marks are bruises. You can decide for yourself after reading this article. Most of the observations used for the timing and sequence of the color change of bruises have been known for over 100 years in forensic medicine textbooks. Here is a summary of the skin color changes from bruises as they age.
Summary of Color Change From Bruises With Time
Over 2 Weeks
Red, Dushy/Purple, Black
Polson et al(1985)
Red, Dark or Red/Black
Greenish Tinge (Day 7)
Smith and Fiddes (1955)
Spitz and Fisher (1974)
Dark Purple, Greenish/Yellow
Credit: Journal of Clinical Pathology 54.5 (May 2001): 348-55
Bruising discoloration has a very specific pattern that it goes through during the healing phases. The initial discoloration of bruising is often a reddish, bluish, and purplish mark that fades to brown, green and yellow on the skin as it heals and disappears. All bruises go through this discoloration pattern as they age.
What about cupping marks? Are the color changes similar to the healing stages of bruising? From cupping research, experts found that all cupping marks fade away without turning a yellowy-green color regardless of how dark the cupping marks were. These findings suggested that no external or internal damage had been inflicted to the skin. Capillaries and blood vessels did not break as a result from cupping therapy.
If cupping marks are not bruises, what causes the skin discoloration? Cupping experts think that cupping therapy draws trapped toxins from deep tissues and brings them to the surface to be expelled from the body. Thus, the more discoloration on the surface of the skin, the more the body is detoxifying.
Do you think bruising can cause the pathological cupping marks as seen in the image above?
Trivia: Bruises from a blow or traumatic injury and spontaneous bruising from medication cause a painful area on the skin whereas cupping marks do not.
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Thienna, a Vietnamese boat person, holds 5 degrees including a BA in Economics, a BS in Microbiology, a Master in Genetic Engineering, a Master in Business Administration, and a PhD in Scientific Nutrition. She has 4 Guinness Book Of World Records previously held by men including the most sumo squats in 1 hr (5336), the longest wall sit (12 hrs) & most weight deadlifted in 1 hr (100,000 lbs} & 1 minute (4000 lbs). She won 13 awards for “Unlocking The Mystery Of Skin Color" & "Cooking On The Light Side”. She founded Thienna Inc. & CandyLipz LLC. & holds multiple patents. Her latest invention, CandyLipz, won 10 prestigious technical design awards. She was crowned woman inventor of 2013 in Seoul, Korea. She is the creator of The Sulfur Diet and is considered to be one the world’s leading experts in human skin color and skin health.