Everyone Is Talking About Why Michael Phelps Had *Weird* Red Circles All His Body…

The Rio Olympics are in full swing now and they’re got the old world in a bit of a tizz. Between America’s medal winning, newly kindled romances and Tom Daley doing us proud again – there’s still a reason to stare curiously at Michael Phelps’ body…

But not for the usual reasons. No, the world has been going crazy over these curious red circles that have appeared of Phelps’ body as well as a few other athletes in the game. Did they swim in Rio’s sewage infested waters? Apparently not, instead, they’ve been experimenting with the popular Chinese pain relief practice, Cupping Therapy.


See those circles on Phelps’ right shoulder?! – Image credit: RexFeatures

Before you start nodding along thinking: “I like the sound of that. If it’s good enough for Phelps, it’s good enough for me…”, it’s our duty to inform you that there have been no substantial conclusions drawn on cupping therapies benefits, some argue it’s just a placebo effect.

So how does it work? Traditionally, a piece of burning cotton is placed inside a glass cup, which creates a vacuum within. The cup is placed on your body and the change in pressure causes your back skin to be sucked on into the glass cup. Red swells appear where the cups were placed.

The therapy is believed to allow for more mobile blood for to the skin. This is used for pain relief, muscle development and even to boost your immune system – it was even once researched as a treatment for herpes… what have you been up to, Mr Phelps?


Image credit: RexFeatures

Most sport scineitsts have dismissed cupping therapy as a viable means of treatment and performance enhaving. If anything, the mysticism surrounding this ancient technique is creating a placebo effect among athletes. But if it means winning more medals… by all means, cup away!