With the 2018 Winter Olympics coming up in just about a month, it's time to get pumped and watch some incredibly talented athletes do their thang. Every year, while I'm sitting in front of my TV in awe, I can't help but wonder what sorts of rituals or therapies these athletes swear by to get ready for the competition — like cupping, for example. What is cupping therapy, and does it really live up to all the hype?
For starters, let's make it clear that cupping is actually not a new, modern type of therapy or wellness trend. In fact, cupping is an ancient Chinese healing practice, and to put it simply, it's more or less the equivalent of getting a deep-tissue massage, but instead of kneading and rubbing your muscles, your practitioner is pulling on them with a suction cup.
Cupping therapists apply pressure to a person's body (most commonly on the back) with sterilized glass, bamboo, or rubber cups, and this serves to relieve the tension you're holding in different areas of the body by lifting your connective tissues — aka fascia — away from your skeletal system.
So, if you want to take a cue from some of your favorite athletes' self-care routines, give cupping a shot and see what it's all about. Here are five things to know before you book your first appointment.