The information you need to know behind cupping therapy.

Did you notice the red circles that adorned Michael Phelps body during the Summer Olympics this past August? Oddly enough, those circles represented an ancient Chinese therapy known as cupping. Athletes from across the globe are experimenting with cupping therapy, hoping to gain a competitive edge, and here is why.

  • Meant to Increase Blood Flow and Nutrients to the Muscle
  • Relieve Muscle Pain
  • A New Hollywood Trend
  • Said to Massage Deep Tissue of the Muscle
  • Decrease Inflammation
How does cupping work?

Special cups (most likely glass or bamboo) are set on a fire with a flammable substance (many therapists use some type of herb or essential oil), when the fire goes out the cup is placed upside down on your skin. The process creates a vacuum, causing your skin to rise while your blood vessels expand. The skin reddens, creating the red circle look made popular by 2016 Olympic Athletes.

There are alternative versions. Some therapists use suction cups, while others use silicone cups for a massage style therapy. Wet-cupping involves therapists creating small lesions in the skin prior to the cupping.

Cupping philosophy…

Cupping therapy is said to help remove toxins from that linger in the body. Therapists have different theories on how long the cups remain on the skin. The cup may stay for as few as a couple of minutes, or much longer. Treatment varies based on the athlete’s needs and the location of the body, although the back is the most commonly treated area.

Does is matter?

With countless endorsements from medical professionals and athletes such as the most decorated Olympian, Michael Phelps, this hundreds of year old therapy is often overlooked. Athletes seem to desire the therapy to maintain their competitive edge. Erwin Valencia, Physical Therapist for the New York Knicks basketball team stated , “I use cupping as a tool for recovery.” 

A few people known to use cupping therapy?

Jennifer Aniston

Daisuke Matsuzaka (New York Mets)

Tanner Roark

Kyle Singler

Lady Gaga