DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – Wright State University’s Assistant Athletic Trainer Brad Muse stopped by 5 on 2 Tuesday, along with university swimmer Mitchell Stover to demonstrate and explain the practice of cupping.
The dark red circles are left behind after the method — designed to increase blood flow and allow muscles to recover faster — and certainly catches the eye.
The circles appearing on the arms, legs and backs of U.S. athletes like Michael Phelps, Natalie Coughlin and Alex Naddour result from a practice called cupping.
Standard cupping involves a glass cup and a flammable substance which heats the cup while it’s on the skin. When the flame goes out, suction is created.
In more modern cupping, called “air” cupping, a suction pump is attached to the cup, creating the vacuum-type pull on the skin, according to Acupuncture Today. Sometimes the skin is punctured before air cupping to draw out a small amount of blood. That’s known as “wet cupping.”