Cupping is a type of alternative therapy that originated in China. It involves placing cups on the skin to create suction. In traditional Chinese medicine, cupping is said to stimulate the flow of vital energy and help correct any imbalances arising from illness or injury. It's sometimes combined with acupuncture and tuina, other therapies said to promote the flow of energy.
Cupping increases blood circulation to the area where the cups are placed. This may relieve muscle tension, which can improve overall blood flow and promote cell repair. It may also help form new connective tissues and create new blood vessels in the tissue.
Cupping is often recommended as a complementary therapy for the following conditions:
back pain, cellulite, headache, knee pain, muscle pain, neck and shoulder pain, sports injuries.
Numerous athletes from the Olympics in Rio 2016 used cupping. This was easily seen by circular markings on some of the U.S. swim team members.