Thanks to Michael Phelps, just about everybody knows about cupping. No longer are people confusing the purple blotches for birthmarks or hickeys.
The Chinese procedure has been around for centuries, tracing its roots to Taoist alchemist and herbalist Ge Hong, who first discovered the practice around 300 A.D. Besides making for unattractive marks on the body, cupping can offer immediate relief to the overtrained muscles of athletes.
Washington Nationals star Bryce Harper apparently is a big fan. The 2015 NL MVP posted a picture to social media of himself getting treatment with the heading, “Feeling like Bowser.” By our count, Harper had no fewer than 53 cups on his muscular back.
The process often uses flame-heated glass suction cups to stimulate blood flow and energy to a certain part of the body, which in turn can promote healing and quicker recovery for athletes.
Let’s hope this is a preventative measure for the 25-year-old superstar who hits the free-agent market after this season.