Cupping is the Talk of the Town at the Olympics

No doubt you’ve seen the telltale cupping marks on Olympic Gold medalist Michael Phelps during Sunday’s 400 freestyle relay? His teammates on the Gold medal-winning team showed the familiar marking as well. But those aren’t the only Olympic athletes utilizing this ancient therapy. Look for more “cupping evidence” on the US men’s gymnastics team and when US athletes begin track and field events.

What is cupping? According to author Samuel Wong, cupping has been practiced in various cultures for more than 3,000 years. It uses cups and suction to create negative air pressure next to the skin, in effect “lifting” the skin from the soft tissues underneath and allowing fluid to more freely nourish those tissues. “While research has yet to conclusively support the practice, therapists who use it say this age-old modality decreases muscle pain, improves lymph flow, and can even reduce cellulite.”

Want to know more? We’ve got three cupping experts featured in the July/August 2016 issue of Massage & Bodywork magazine

—Karrie Osborn is senior editor for Associated Bodywork & Massage Professionals. 

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