Swimmer Michael Phelps has been grabbing headlines not just for the Olympic medals he won in Rio de Janeiro. He's also attracting attention for the circular bruises he and other athletes have displayed from "cupping."
Cupping is a technique used in conjunction with acupuncture or dry needling. Cupping pulls blood to a region to stimulate healing. It is effective at stretching tight fascia and muscles. Cupping helps the tissue develop new blood flow and causes anti-inflammatory chemicals in the body. Cupping is generally painless and many say is more effective than massage for muscle problems.
Cupping therapy attaches suction cups to a person's skin to treat pain and other injuries. A vacuum is created in the cups that pulls the skin of the patient. That suction is said to help improve blood flow, and often leaves a bruise. It can be done with glass, silicon, bamboo or plastic cups, and even pumps.
It's most often associated with Chinese medicine, though the technique is traced to other ancient civilizations in the Middle East and Europe.
Cupping can help you overcome old and new injury by: