Cupping: Olympic Hype or Effective Care?

Dr. Kristina Fruechtl Blog

So Michael Phelps broke the record for most individual gold medals at the Olympics. He now has won 13 throughout his Olympic career. This time, he’s also brought some attention to the ancient healing art of cupping. And he’s not the only one. The round deep red circles have been spotted (no pun intended) on other competing athletes as well.

Cupping is an ancient practice of alternative medicine, now most commonly practiced by licensed acupuncturists, oriental medicine practitioners, or other trained cupping therapists. It is performed by placing special cups on the skin to create suction. Sometimes heat is also used to aide in the process. It helps to bring blood to the surface, therefore increasing blood flow and circulation, reducing inflammation and pain, and enhancing relaxation and well-being. There may be other health benefits as well, but these seem to be the most common.

Here is some more information about cupping in an article from Acupuncture Today:


While the Olympic attention to cupping may create a trend of sorts, please don’t misunderstand that this is a form of health care that has been utilized for centuries.  We can certainly hope that all the hype will contribute towards the movement of improved health awareness and wellness.