Please, Michael Phelps, Stop Cupping

Aug 12, 2016

By James Hamblin

Swimmer Michael Phelps is the most prominent athlete to appear with circular bruises over his body this week, raising eyebrows and questions.

Is he okay? Is he a closet hemophiliac? Is he—oh no—he’s not smoking pot again?

Olympians are now allowed a modest amount of THC in blood tests, so he might be. But that would only tangentially explain the bruises, which are self-inflicted, the result of a practice known as cupping.


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5 comments on “Please, Michael Phelps, Stop Cupping

  • He and some other athletes undertake them because they believe this process helps muscles to heal more quickly by encouraging blood flow.

    Non sequitur.

    I have read about the “miracle” cures attributed to the fermented tea they sell at high prices now days ( GMO free, of course! ) and have wondered at the stupidity of these people, college “educated,” that really should know better.



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  • I can remember adults getting cupped here in the uk and back in Cyprus when I was just four. I can remember a warm room, incense burning, the smell of white spirit that was rubbed on the inside of the cup with some cotton wool on a stick, a large cotton bud thingy, another cotton bud that was burning to light the white spirit and the short incomprehensible prayer that was said as each cup was lit and placed. The whole experience designed to relax and needed in its entirety for any placebo effect to work. I remember it as drawing out something rather than blood circulation but I could be wrong.



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  • Vampyr like, the media keeps saying blood circulation;

    but one guy suggests the technique simply is the opposite of press down massage, i.e., pulls sore muscles.



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