Michael Phelps and the Olympic swimmers arrived in prime time Sunday night, and there was something unmistakable on their bodies: round circles.
They weren’t the result of a tattooing misadventure or a secret symbol known only to members of the swim team. Either of those would have made a great story. The circles came from cupping, a technique used by trainers who attach suction cups to pull blood to sore and injured areas to speed healing.
A recent Under Armour video shows Phelps receiving the treatment, as he has done for years. He also posted a photo on Instagram last year, telling fellow Olympian swimmer Allison Schmitt, “Thanks for my cupping today!”
At about the 1:30 mark of Under Armour’s video, you’ll see what cupping looks like. (Or if you pay attention to all things Gwyneth Paltrow, you’ll know.) If you’ve ever had it done (I have, but not because Gwyneth recommended it), you’ll find it relaxing and it does seem to make your muscles feel better — perhaps because it stretches tendons and muscles differently than massage.
Those bruises on Michael Phelps’ back? They’re from ‘cupping’
“It looks like we get attacked by octopuses,” said three-time U.S. Olympian Dana Vollmer, fresh off a bronze medal in the 100 butterfly.
The cups, which create suction with either heat or little pumps, aren’t attached for long, and the discoloration is the result of broken capillaries that occur as the skin is pulled up into the cup.
“Keep in mind that it’s superficial bruising. So it’s not real bruising,” American Cody Miller, bronze medalist in the 100-meter backstroke, said. “So if you get hit really hard and you bruise, it’s not that kind of bruise. Your muscle tissue isn’t torn up in there. It’s just pulling blood into a specific area, and then it just kind of sits there as that tension builds and then you release that tension.
“It’s great,” Miller added before explaining that he purchased his set on Amazon for $20. “I use it a little bit. My fiancee, Ali, right there does it to me during training. I’ll have her put cups on there and she’s like, ‘Aaaaah, so gross.’ But it’s cool.”
Does it work? Experts are divided on the matter. But if you believe it works, you’re likely to perceive that it’s beneficial. I haven’t had it done lately, but I’m an Olympic blogger, not an Olympic athlete. Would I have it done again? Sure.
U.S. swimmers seem to be sold, at least.
Why cupping therapy is popular among Olympic athletes
Play Video 1:28
The dark purple spots on Michael Phelps’ shoulders shed light on cupping therapy. (Reuters)
“I think it works great for a lot of us. A lot of us use it,” Vollmer said. “Not all of us have quite as many cup marks as some of the swimmers that we’ve seen with them on. Nathan [Adrian] and Michael [Phelps] love it. It works really well for them.”
Swimmers aren’t the only ones who are trying the technique. Alexander Naddour, a Team USA gymnast, sported circle bruises. Alexander Naddour, a do-it-yourself cupper thanks to a kit he bought for $15 on Amazon, was sporting the purple dots during competition Saturday in Rio. “That’s been the secret that I have had through this year that keeps me healthy,” Naddour told USA Today. “It’s been better than any money I’ve spent on anything else.”
Alexander Naddour has the same mark, in the same place, as Phelps. (Alex Livesey/Getty Images)
[Zurich Times] Cupping is finally have its Olympic moment, but the origins of this treatment come not from the West but rather from the East. There are Three Main Types of Cupping – Dry Cupping (DC), Fire Cupping (FC) and Blood Cupping (BC).
Below is a photo of the Dry Cupping method. In the Blood Cupping method in the round suction cups blood is actually extracted to remove toxins and bad stagnant blood from the body and is a highly effective technique for eliminating disease from the body. It (DC and FC) has been used by Traditional Chinese Medicine and by the peoples of the Middle East, Asia and Africa (BC) for centuries.
[Wikipedia] The first documented uses are found in the teachings of the Islamic prophet Muhammad. According to Muhammad al-Bukhari, Muslim ibn al-Hajjaj Nishapuri and Ahmad ibn Hanbal, Muhammad approved of the Hijama (cupping) treatment.
A number of hadith support its recommendation and use by Muhammad. As a result, the practice of cupping therapy has survived in Muslim countries. Today, wet cupping is a popular remedy practiced in many parts of the Muslim world.
Alternatively, mild suction is created using a cup and a pump (or heat suction) on the selected area and left for about three minutes. The cup is then removed and small superficial skin incisions are made using a cupping scalpel. A second suction is used to carefully draw out a small quantity of blood. The procedure was piloted and developed by Ullah et al 2005 and has been endorsed by the British Cupping Society which aims to promote, protect and develop professional standards in cupping therapy.
In Finland, wet cupping has been done at least since the 15th century, and it is done traditionally in saunas. The cupping cups were made of cattle horns with a valve mechanism in it to create an partial vacuum by sucking the air out. Cupping is still used in Finland as an alternative medicine.
[Zurich Times] So there you have it. The Irony of the Situation is palpable. You have an Eastern/Asian/Islamic medical technique being practiced now in the West and in the Olympics. Perhaps this occurrence was a reference to the Sun Rising from the West. Now the West is using the medicine of the East.
It is also ironic that America’s most popular Doctor is Doctor Mehmet Oz – Turkish Muslim American Doctor. And Mehmet in Turkish means
Muhammad or Mohammed depending on how you want to spell it or pronounce it.
We have to admit after finding this quote we are now an even bigger fan of Dr. Oz. And if you disagree and do not think Dr. Oz is the most popular Doctor in America then perhaps we can agree on Dr. Gupta.
Doh! He is also an Asian American with lineage specifically from South Asia, but thank god not another Muslim, but rather this time a Sikh. So take your pick America which one do you want, but they both support Cannabis usage after seeing the evidence. What choices, oh dear!
So in America your most popular Physicians are either a Muslim or a Sikh and the America’s most popular and all time most winning Athlete is practicing an Eastern/Asian/Islamic medical technique? The Donald will have to think twice before deporting Doctor Oz or his lookalike Dr. Gupta once he gets into Power.
This technique is not one Big Pharma will support as there are no drugs required nor it is require expensive equipment or highly paid professionals to administer it. What a disaster for Big Pharma it would be if this technique actually caught on. It is so popular in the UK that there colleges teaching it and you can become a licensed practitioner there as well and be part of the NHS.