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Why Do Hijama Cupping Marks Vary In Colour & What Does It Mean?

Updated: Feb 26, 2023

After cupping, the discoloration of the skin generally appears, called cupping marks. The colour of these marks varies from person to person.


Hijama Cupping Therapy is an alternative medical therapy that involves suction. Cups are applied to the skin to facilitate suction. The suction is like a deep tissue massage intended to mobilize the blood flow and speed up the natural healing procedure.

Hijama cupping therapy is a safe procedure and a very beneficial technique to treat illnesses. Despite all benefits, some significant concerns mostly is a matter of discussion between a client and a therapist. One of the major concerns is the discoloration of the skin. The Hijama cupping therapy may produce a circular patch characterized by redness, ecchymoses or bruising.

How Does Hijama Cupping Leaves Marks?

When a negative pressure is drawn in the cup through a suction gun, the suction pulls the skin up, and as a result, tiny blood vessels and capillaries on the upper part of the skin break. This is why the area around the cup starts changing colour. This process is called ecchymosis or discolouration of the skin. This process causes discoloration by producing chemicals known as, inflammatory mediators and by forming tiny blood clots under the skin. When the gap between the layers of the skin increases, it allows the tissues and muscles to collect more stagnated blood, toxins and dead blood cells under the top layer of the skin.

What Are Cupping Marks Called: Ecchymosis or Bruises?

In medical terms, ecchymosis and bruises may be used in the same context, but as cupping marks, they have different terminologies.

Ecchymosis is a skin discoloration that occurs when the blood vessels beneath the skin are damaged. When the suction is applied to the cup, the pressure causes the blood vessels to burst open and leak. After the cupping session, the skin changes to purple, brown or reddish.

Cupping marks can not be called bruises because bruises appear when the body experiences sudden injury or trauma. The injury or the accident may break blood vessels which result in redness. The body immediately responds to the bruising and starts the healing process. As a result, blood circulation reduces, and the body feels pain.

Ecchymosis with cupping marks does not cause pain, while bruises may cause pain. Ecchymosis appears in circles, caused by the suction from the cups instead, the bruises may appear in any form by the pressure of injury or trauma.


Hijama Cupping Marks, Types and different Colours

After Hijama cupping therapy, different colour generally appears, which indicates the physical condition of an individual to some extent. According to Traditional Chinese Medicine, dark cupping marks indicate too many toxins in the body. However, according to Modern Medicine, the dark colour of the cupping mark explained the degree of pressure caused to the skin and broke the blood vessels. The more pressure, the more bleeding and the darker the cupping mark will appear at the cupping area.

Hijama extracts some stuff from the deep tissues into the superficial layers of the skin so that they can be quickly expelled from the body. These marks include:

  • Toxins

  • Dead lymph

  • Stagnated blood

  • Congestion

  • Cellular debris

  • Pathogenic factors

  • Poisoning factors in the blood

  • Dead blood cells

These waste products are also shown in the discoloured region after cupping therapy.


These cupping marks are due to the broken blood vessels beneath the skin. These marks indicate the level of blood, stagnation, toxic accumulation and dampness in the body. The darkness of the cupping marks reflects the moderate or severe stagnation in that area. The darker the scars, the more inflammation and stagnation an individual has in his body.

A- Healthy Blood Circulation: These cupping marks lies in the range of light to medium pink colour. Pink cupping marks are considered a healthy body. It means that an individual has less scope of toxins in their body. In most cases, pink cupping marks disappear within 2 to 3 days as the body starts healing scars.

B- Moderate Stagnation: These cupping marks lies within the range of dark pink to reddish colour. Red cupping marks indicate that toxins accumulate from mild to moderate in the blood. These marks disappear within 4 to 6 days after the session.

C- Severe Stagnation: These types of cupping marks are one of the most common types nowadays. These marks lie within the range of Dark red to bluish-purplish colour. The dark purple shade means severe stagnation. It means that the body has the most significant amount of toxins build-up in the body. In such cases, an individual gets instant relief as toxins get out of the body as cupping pulls toxins and stagnant blood out of the deep tissues. These cupping marks last up to two weeks.

D- Congestion and Toxins: Because of the toxins and congestion, the cupping marks get darker, and the blood stagnation increases. Blood stagnation is also called “blood stasis”. It is significant to do regular Hijama sessions in this condition because stagnated blood should come out as it makes the health condition worse if it stays for long in the body.

E- Blood and Qi Deficiency: Light pale skin marks after cupping indicates energy sources such as qi and blood are insufficient in the body. According to Traditional Chinese Medicine, a balanced Qi is evident for physical and mental health. So a qi deficiency means a lack of energy. Having pale skin cupping marks also indicates a weak immune system, iron deficiency and anemia. It is highly recommended to discuss the health concerns with the doctor before performing Hijama. These cupping marks hardly last up to a couple of hours.


Different Properties of Stagnated Blood After Hijama The purpose of Hijama cupping therapy is associated with the precipitation of blood circulation by removing stagnated blood and toxic heavy metals from the body. Hijama drains excess fluids and increases muscle blood flow. These heavy metals are toxic metals that have no nutritious value. These nonessential metals may cause harm to the body. Toxic metals include mercury (Hg), cadmium (Cd), lead (Pb), arsenic (As), selenium (Se) and some oxyanions or organic ions. Hijama compels the thick blood from the bloodstream, enabling light and fresh blood. Hijama also regulates potassium, salt and minerals in the blood to lower blood pressure. Ibn Al-Qoryyum wrote that “cupping extracts the septic blood more efficiently than puncturing the veins”. Being a Hijama therapist, I have experienced several properties of stagnated blood. Hijama removes the septic blood from underneath the skin, which is the root cause of many diseases. The blood that comes out after the cupping session is stagnated blood. The percentage of stagnated blood varies from person to person. According to Traditional Chinese Medicine:

  • The red colour of the blood indicates healthy blood circulation.

  • The dark red indicates an individual is between a healthy body and mild stagnation. Healthy lifestyle changes, balanced nutrition and regular Hijama may flush away such mild toxins.

  • The darkest shade of red and purple colour indicates severe stagnation. Hijama pulls toxins and stagnant blood out of the deep tissues. These toxins vary in shape and composition.

  • Dark specks and black patches represent the state in which waste products and fatigue are accumulated in the body. Thick and immense clumps of blood may be found after the session of Hijama. This condition indicates extreme blood stagnation. Some therapists may also experience a disgusting smell, another indication of septic complications within the body.

  • Dead red blood cells

  • Interstitial cellular fluid

  • Target cells observed in patients suffering from pathological disorders

  • Lymphocytes- in areas of injury

  • Plasma ratios

  • Higher nitrogenous waste

  • Highly pigmented reddish brown colour

  • Blisters and purpura

  • Black patches and clumps of blood (clots)

Duration of cupping marks This is a frequent concern that everyone has about the duration of cupping marks. The time frame of cupping scars depends upon the skin type and regeneration of the skin ability of an individual. The range of cupping colours from light pink to dark purple may last four days to two weeks. Dark colour identifies high levels of toxins that may last up to more than two weeks. Light pink or red cupping marks may dissipate within a few hours. As soon as the body has expelled stagnant, unhealthy blood, the cupped area will stop bleeding itself. Painful points tend to bleed a little more blood and darker blood than healthy points. Cupping marks do not cause any pain, may cause minimal discomfort to some extent and goes away quickly. Hijama cupping therapy is a miracle. It helps treat several health issues. Its results are immediate and long-lasting.

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