Cupping in the Olympics

Cupping seems to be the buzz word of the Olympics this year.  What are those strange looking marks on the athletes? And what is this thing called cupping?

Michael Phelps has shown distinct circular marks on his skin from cupping therapy.


Cupping is an ancient remedy that is used in present day to treat a variety of conditions including: musculoskeletal pain, asthma, bronchitis, common cold, scar tissue and digestive conditions to name a few.

The process of cupping involves placing glass cups on the skin after swabbing the inside with a flame, creating suction to the skin.  An alternative method of cupping is done with plastic cups that use a pump to create the suction.

Once there is a strong stimulation to the skin and vessels using cupping, there will be an effusion of fluids from the vessel that will result in bruising of the skin.  The bruising activates the immune system to bring about a cascade of physiological events that will restore the proper balance of the body.    Physiologically, cupping improves circulation to the affected area, regenerates blood, decreases inflammation, and eliminates toxins and foreign substances from the body.  Most people respond to cupping by stating that it feels better than a massage; the effects are longer lasting than a massage.  Cupping relaxes the body and mind due to the increased blood flow and dilation of blood vessels.

It has been my experience that people will bruise less with subsequent cupping treatments.   I believe this is due to improved circulation as well as regeneration of blood.  It’s also a result of the detoxification process, removing pathogenic factors that cause discomfort and disharmony in the body.

Athletes benefit greatly from the use of cupping by providing faster recovery time from vigorous training, decreased inflammation, pain, and muscle soreness.  As a former swimmer and athlete myself, I get regular massage, acupuncture, and cupping treatments to keep my body balanced and healthy.  My body takes a beating in the gym somedays with powerlifting.  The cupping helps alleviate sore muscles, aches and pains while healing the body for a speedy recovery.

Even though cupping is highly therapeutic, it is not recommended for everyone.  Please consult with your licensed practitioner to see if you are a candidate.  For more information call 480-254-6920 and ask about our special offer on cupping therapy.