Cupping therapy is a practice that involves briefly attaching rounded inverted cups to certain parts of the body using a vacuum effect. Some proponents suggest that the drawing of the skin inside the cups increases blood flow to the area.
Long used in traditional Chinese medicine and other ancient healing systems, cupping has gained considerable popularity in recent years among athletes. For instance, swimmer Michael Phelps is said to have had the therapy in preparation for the 2016 Summer Olympics.
Practitioners use a manual or electric pump to create the vacuum, or use self-suctioning cupping sets. Next, the practitioner places the cup upside down on the body. They are usually removed after five to ten minutes. During a typical cupping treatment, between three and seven cups are placed on the body.