How Long Does It Take For Cupping Therapy Marks To Go Away?

If you go to the gym, hang out with people who are into alternative medicine, or have friends that are athletes (or are one yourself), then you may have come across people with bruise-like circular marks in targeted areas of the body like the back or the arms. These marks are the result of an ancient form of medicine called cupping therapy. This long-standing alternative medicine practice works by placing a cup over the skin, which helps create negative pressure and suction to pull the skin up into the cup. This suction effect can help encourage circulation and open up energy channels within the body, per Healthline

Not only can cupping help treat symptoms of pain, stiffness, and soreness in areas like the neck, back, arms, legs, and shoulders, it may actually help remove toxins from your body, per Cleveland Clinic. There are many different types of cupping therapy available, each with its own unique methods.

Different types of cupping therapy

According to Healthline, there are several types of cupping therapy: dry cupping, wet cupping, flash cupping, and running cupping. Most modern cupping methods use cups made of glass, plastic, or silicone and have a similar shape to a bell. In dry cupping, heat is used to create suction within the cup, which is then left on for five to 10 minutes. While dry cupping relies on suction for therapeutic benefits, wet cupping involves inserting a needle into the skin before the cup is applied. There may be some intentional and controlled bleeding. 

In flash cupping, the practitioner uses a series of short and fast "grab and release" suctions with the cups on the affected area. Finally, running cupping is where the practitioner moves the already suctioned cups around a targeted body area that has been oiled and massaged.

It's important to be aware that cupping therapy may leave bruise-like marks on the body. Before trying the therapy for yourself, you might be wondering how long it takes for these marks to go away.

How long does it takes for cupping therapy marks to fade?

According to SOHMA Integrative Medicine, there are various gradients of cupping therapy marks that indicate important information about the stage of the treatment. If the area where you received cupping therapy has healthy blood circulation, then you can expect to see a slight redness. If you still have pain — but the cupping therapy marks are slightly red and therefore indicating good circulation — then you may need a different therapy like acupuncture. In the case where there is little to no change in the skin color, or if it is pale, then it could be a sign that the affected area has an imbalance in circulation.

If the cupping therapy marks are dark red, that may indicate that there is a concentration of toxins in the area. If the spot is purple in color, then that can indicate an extreme concentration of toxins in the affected area. Notably, none of this is a major cause for concern, rather it just means that you may need more cupping therapy.

The light red marks can disappear the same day — even a few hours after — the cupping therapy session. Red marks can take a few days to fade, while red marks with dark spots can take three days to a week. Finally, deep red and purple marks can take up to two weeks to disappear.