What Is Cupping And Why Are Olympians Doing It?

A curious thing is happening with US Olympians ,they are showing up to competitions with large purple circles all over their arms and back. What are they? They are on gymnast Alex Naddour and swimmer Michael Phelps.

The circles are the results of an ancient Chinese medicinal practice for healing. It involves special cup-like tools being placed on the skin and heat used to create suction. That suction is said to improve blood flow. The results are thought commonly to be broken blood vessels, but expert Joel Granik, director of wellness center Floating Lotus in New York, stated this is not true.

Granik explained that the markings actually are due to stagnant fluid and blood that may have been stuck. The cupping process brings that “stuck” fluid and blood to the surface tissue, thus making it easier to flush out of the system. Although the marks look like bruising, experts confirm that they aren’t painful. In fact, the process is very relaxing to the subject. The pulling method actually engages the body’s parasympathetic nervous system and allows for a much deeper level of relaxation for the entire body.

Olympians swear that cupping helps them to prevent injuries and speed up recovery. In the market though, many people are opting to try it out due to the popularity athletes are bringing to the technique. It is beneficial for athletes, but the real purpose is to balance the mind and body. Granik confirmed that at his spa, record numbers of people are scheduling the treatment.

It’s best for specific areas of the body where there are problems. Granik added that people who experience acute pain or sprains can benefit. For example, sitting at a desk for a long period of time can create stress in shoulders. Cupping can relieve that tension.