Michael Phelps Mysterious Circular Bruises are Due to ‘Cupping Therapy’

By: Jon Corrigan

If you tuned into the Rio Olympics on Sunday night and watched U.S. swimmer Michael Phelps race in the men’s freestyle relay finals, you probably noticed the circular dots on his shoulder and back.

It turns out, the bruises are a result of a traditional Chinese therapy called “fire cupping.” The practice involves placing heated glass globes on a person’s skin, creating local suctions.

It is believed the cupping helps mobilize blood flow to promote muscle healing. The obvious downside of cupping is the bruising, which worsens after a couple days.

It may sound gimmicky, but the guy has 19 Olympic gold medals. He’s doing something right.

More from Jon Corrigan
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