Tip: Skip The Cupping

Don't fall for this overrated therapy. Here's why.

If you watched the Olympics you probably noticed all the athletes with large polka dots on their skin. Those ugly marks are caused by "cupping." Sounds kinky, but it isn't.

Cupping is a therapy method where plastic or glass cups are placed on the body. Air or heat decompression is used to draw the skin up into the cups. This is thought to drive local blood flow into the area to aid in the healing process. So, is it worth the big hickies? Not really.

Not As Effective As Other Therapies

Phelps Cupping

Similar to dry needling and IASTM (Instrument Assisted Soft Tissue Mobilization), the practice of cupping has made its way to our Western medical model. But different from needling and tooled soft tissue manipulation, cupping isn't quite as effective.

This method has begun to die off among the more knowledgeable practitioners, but apparently not the ones working with many Olympians. Why? Because there are superior alternatives to remediate similar dysfunctions.

Cupping has stuck around in some clinical settings because of one reason: the ability for the therapist to bill insurance for "manual therapy" which can actually receive a higher amount of reimbursement.

Manual therapy should involve a more highly elevated skill set than placing cups and pumping up a tissue with a glorified penis pump. And if gaming a faulty medical system seems to be the only reason this method is used, start looking for a rehab pro who will place your care above his financial bottom line. Want a more effective recovery method? Here are five.