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Olympic Athletes using ancient Chinese therapy

Several Olympic athletes have bright telltale dots on their skin which are signs of "cupping" an ancient healing practice that is experiencing a moment at the Rio Olympics. Athletes or practitioners place specialized cups on the skin and then use either heat or an air pump to create suction between the cup and the skin pulling the skin slightly up and away from the underlying muscles. It is another recovery modality. This creates a bruising effect and looks oddly like a hickey. It is thought to draw blood to an affected area reducing soreness and speeding healing of overworked muscles. Some athletes swear by it. Does it work or is it a placebo effect? More study is needed to determine the potential benefits of cupping. Some college swimming programs have begun using cupping therapy. The treatment may have a physiological effect and may trigger the immune system to produce cytokines, small proteins that enhance communication between cells and help to modulate the immune response.

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