Have you been wondering why swimmer Michael Phelps and other Olympians are sporting deep-purple circles on their limbs and midsections? Physiologically, cupping is thought to draw blood to the affected area, by pulling the skin slightly up and away from the underlying muscles. The suction helps reduce soreness and speeds the healing of overworked muscles. Athletes who use it swear by it, saying it keeps them injury free and speeds recovery. #cupping #olympics #aspirehw #thewizkiddrboaz #physicaltherapy #sandiego #recovery
Team USA is "Cupping" (Mideast Medical Tradition) For Gold
Gwyneth Paltrow and Jennifer Aniston do it — and now US Olympians are jumping on the bandwagon, too.
The ancient healing technique of cupping, in which small glass jars are placed on the body to increase energy flow — leaving behind odd-looking red circles from the suction — has been adopted by several members of Team USA.
Gymnast Alex Naddour had the telltale marks on his bulging shoulders during the qualifiers for the pommel horse in Rio de Janeiro on Saturday night.
“That’s been the secret that I have had through this year that keeps me healthy,’’ said Naddour, who insisted that the technique works better than massages or cortisone shots to ease soreness and stress.
He said he bought his set of cups online for $15 and, “It’s been better than any money I’ve spent on anything else.”
A lot of Naddour’s gymnastic teammates also rely on cupping.
Team captain Chris Brooks said trainers and doctors aren’t needed for the procedure, which for him includes heating the glass jars before they are applied to his skin.
“You’re like, ‘OK, I’m sore here,’ ” Brooks told USA Today. “Throw a cup on, and your roommate will help you, or you can do it yourself.”
Famed swimmer Michael Phelps likes the practice so much that he included images of his long, muscular back being cupped in his new Under Armour advertisement.
Former Olympic swimmer Natalie Coughlin also has posted photos of herself cupping on Instagram.
But trend or not, not everybody thinks suctioning tired muscles with glass jars is great.
When actor David Arquette tried the practice, he said it felt “creepy” and referred to the red marks it left as “giant hickeys.”
Olympic fans also joked about the trend.
“Cupping marks are the new k-tape,” tweeted B. DeBiasi, referring to elastic therapeutic tape, a once-trendy treatment for muscular pain that proved to be the equivalent of snake oil. “Both equally ineffective.”