What is “Cupping”?

Have you been wondering what those purple circles are on Michael Phelps (and some others) at the Olympics?

They’re hickeys! ..Well not exactly.

The marks are the result of cupping, a 2,000-year-old Chinese technique in which specialized glass or plastic cups are suctioned to the body with heat and air to increase muscular blood flow, thereby minimizing soreness and swelling and aiding healing.


If you want to get more technical, cupping is said to decompress stiffened fascia, the connective tissue that stabilizes muscles and is prone to tightening during intense exercise. The treatment only lasts a few minutes, but that’s just enough time for surface capillaries to break, and a bruise to be left behind. (Not unlike actual hickeys.)

…and yes, we do cupping at WNC! Call for details 847.426.2121.


Click here to read more about cupping.  (an article by Anna Almendrala, The Huffington Post)



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