If, like me, you’ve been keeping a close eye on the Olympics, you might have noticed the dark round spots covering several Olympian’s backs and shoulders. While these marks may look like the sign of some serious skin disease, they’re actually just the result of cupping, a Chinese healing therapy. Michael Phelps has been the biggest name to utilize this practice, and he has everyone wondering: What is this new trend?
As it turns out, it isn’t new at all. Although it’s just now making its mainstream debut at the Olympics, cupping is an ancient Chinese therapy that dates back to around 2,000 years ago. During cupping therapy, a warm oxygen-free glass cup is placed on the patient’s back. The lack of oxygen draws the patient’s skin into the cup. The aim of this therapy is to release tension in sore muscles, and increase blood flow. Although the bruises may appear to tell a different story, cupping is said to be virtually pain-free.
Skeptics of the practice suggest that there are no real health benefits associated with cupping, but that hasn’t stopped household names like Michael Phelps, Gwyneth Paltrow and Jennifer Aniston from partaking in the ancient therapy. Have you given it a try? If so, I’d love to hear about your experience!