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Cupping Diagnostic



When using cupping therapy, I see some patterns more often than others. I have searched and asked around, but didn't find any good database on different cupping marks. Can anyone reccomend a good source on diagnosing the marks left from cuppings?



I don&#39t know of one, I&#39d be curious to see more of that as well. Generally I look at simply how dark and how long the marks last. So if you do a row of cups and they are all dark except one and it has little or no color that is probably where there is a disc hernation or other obstruction. If one part is darker than the other you have to make note of what is underlying the cup and decide whether it is deep tissue stagnation or muscle stagnation, etc. If the marks last more than a week or so the stagnation is considerable, if they are gone in a few days the stagnation is improved or limited to begin with. There are certainly other considerations, but those are how I generally look at things.


Here is what I figured out by now (I mostly use dry cupping):

In my oppinion, the intensity of the vacuum is very important, as it decides what layer of the body are we working with. And to use cupping as a diagnostic tool, it is vital that we first work on the surface and slowly advance into the depth. If we start by working with deep cupping, the first marking shows us states of the surface and deep tisue, rendering the marking very hard to read.

Besides the color, I also observe the shapes of the coloured surfaces. When the surface is equally coloured, the flow is steady. If the surface is pale, we have deficiency in the underlying channels/structures. If the surface is dark red or darker, we usually have blood stagnation patterns. Ideally, the whole surface gets equally bright red fast, then dissapears to the normal skin color in matter of minutes.

Dots: Mark of any color covered with dark dots indicates dry patterns and/or mild qi stagnation.

Discolorations: Mark that is only partially coloured or has segments of different colors, indicates Spleen deficiency or Phlegm invasion. These markings are very simmilar and connected to cellulitis.

The puffyness of marks: Some marks return to their normal state as soon as we remove the cuppings, while others retain their shape (in my language, I call them cakes :P). This to me indicates severe/chronic Phlegm and low blood circulation on the surface of the body, especially if the marking remained pale.

There is also the pain factor, which would be much harder to dissect, as pain is so subjective. Generally speaking, more pain means more surface tension, indicating stress along the surface channel/s. No pain or dull pain can then mean internalized problems, chronic conditions and/or nerve disharmony. It is also interesting to observe the passing of the pain. Some clients start by feeling a lot of pain, which recedes fast, while others keep with the pain for the whole duration of the cupping session. Rarely, a person feels little pain at the start, which then intensifies.

I would love to hear comments and more opinions on this :)


Cupping is a wonderful way to treat. My patients seem thrilled when a cupping session comes up. I use glass. stone, plastic, and rubbery cups with or without heat / magnets / estim / micro-stem. I note the darker more purple sha of the skin as an indicator that cupping (or gua sha) is appropriate. Sometimes I use cupping for setting bones or for loosening up a tight area. Sometimes I use it as an alternative to needling when needling may be too scary or contra-indicated. Sometimes I use it to use less needles for it can cover bigger areas. I try to use a thick liquid if performing with sliding cups ... I think it helps to add vibratory pulls and most patients have good results from that style. With sliding cups I can create good access to points that are best for the patient&#39s current health pattern while still doing a flowing workout with other cups.

I note that as cupping is continued the darkness pulled up gets lighter and goes away faster where there are toxins to remove. I love your comment above and think that is right on target.

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