Michael Phelps and Cupping at the Olympics

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Michael Phelps Cupping
Michael Phelps the Red Marks of Cupping Therapy

From USA TODAY: August 8, 2016: “Anyone watching Sunday’s night telecast of the Olympics likely had the same question ahead of the U.S. men’s 4×100 freestyle relay: What were those dark red circles covering Michael Phelps’ body?

It’s the result of a recovery method Phelps and other U.S. athletes, including gymnasts, use to relieve tension in their muscles. The technique relies on suction cups that pull the skin back and loosen muscles and tendons, unlike a massage where they would be pressed.”

Athletes have embraced the idea of getting more blood to the site of an injury.

In 2014 the New York Mets went about an experiment with “Cupping,” an ancient Chinese remedy for muscle and back pain.

From the Wall Street Journal

As reported in the Wall Street Journal August 5, 2014: “The sudden proliferation of cupping within the Mets and other major-league teams illustrates the lengths to which professional athletes will go to try to stay in top physical shape. In the case of cupping therapy, that means subjecting themselves to a practice with a questionable scientific foundation. (The Mets organization declined to make its medical personnel available to discuss cupping, and declined to allow photographs of the therapy and its resultant bruises.)

Still back in 2014 Research on Cupping

From Northeastern University, Boston, Massachusetts. A study testing Cupping and Back Pain

Cupping, a classic Chinese medicine treatment, is a technique that applies suction cups over soft tissue. Cupping is gaining popularity in physical medicine because of the simplicity in application, minimal adverse effects, and reduction in pain and muscle tenderness. These factors also make it a cost-effective intervention.

Chinese cupping may be a low-risk, therapeutic treatment for the prompt reduction of symptoms associated with subacute and chronic low back pain. Cupping may allow patients to progress to functional movement training in a timely manner by promptly reducing pain and muscle tenderness and improving range of motion.1

2016 Olympics – the Cupping Sensation

From ABC News

“With large purple circles dotting his shoulder and back, Phelps delivered a performance for the ages to lead the 4×100-meter freestyle relay team to victory, giving him his 19th career gold medal. Phelps swam the fastest 100 meters of his life, a blazing 47.12 seconds on the second leg of the relay that turned a slim deficit in the race against France into a comfortable lead that teammates Ryan Held and Nathan Adrian were able to hold the rest of the way.

The stirring victory – televised in prime time back home in the United States – put Phelps back on the podium and thrust cupping therapy into the spotlight”

Cupping or Platelet Rich Plasma Therapy

The idea behind cupping is to bring blood to the area of chronic pain and soreness so the body can heal faster. Blood of course contains healing factors and is the idea behind Platelet Rich Plasma Therapy. Dr. Greenberg explains how blood heals.

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