What Are the Spots On Michael's Back?

Lots of people are talking about the round marks appearing on Michael Phelps’ back when he swam at the Olympics this week. Apparently he and some of the other swimmers have been using cupping therapy.  Many athletes swear by it, saying it reduces the impact of injury and speeds recovery.

So how does cupping work? Either heat or air is used to create suction in special cups that are placed on the body. The vacuum that’s created pulls the skin and blood vessels in toward the cup, which is why they can leave marks on the skin.

In traditional Chinese medicine, the theory is that cupping can influence the flow of energy or “qi” through the body as well as help it remove toxins.

 The vacuum action of cupping rapidly facilitates the release of rigid soft tissues, stimulates the peripheral nervous system, loosens and lifts connective tissues, breaks up and drains stagnation. It also increases blood and lymph flow to skin, muscles, and connective tissues. As cupping draws stagnant blood and other fluids that have fallen out of healthy circulation up to the skin level and away from the injury it can promote healing of the affected area. Cupping creates a space for oxygen, living cells, and nutrients needed for healing. The body’s capillary system at the skin level carries the toxins to the liver and kidneys, where they can be metabolized and excreted.

Acupuncturists and Massage Therapists may recommend cupping as part of a comprehensive treatment plan.  Want to know what it could do for you?  Ask one of our practitioners today.

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