The Wall Street Journal: Thanks to Michael Phelps, cupping craze takes spotlight in Rio

Three days into the Rio Games, the welts on Michael Phelps’s shoulders have been making almost as many waves as what he’s doing in the water.

After leading the U.S. men to victory in the 4×100 freestyle relay Sunday night, Phelps arrived at the pool for his butterfly heat Monday afternoon with a fresh, perfectly circular, baseball-sized, purple-red mark on his right shoulder. It was the result of his latest cupping session with his trainer.

Rio 2016: What Is Cupping?


When Michael Phelps and his teammates won a gold medal on Sunday, many Olympics fans wondered: What were those purple marks on Phelps’ shoulders? The bruises are caused by cupping, an ancient healing technique gaining popularity among athletes.

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