The Rio Olympics are finally here. And if you haven't already tuned in, the Rio Games have been focusing on everything from the beautiful city to the athletes and the events.
The US dominated in taking the first gold home with Ginny Thrasher winning in the 10-meter air rifle event, and since then, the luck hasn't let up for the US team.
One of the events that has been talked about a lot lately is the US swim team. And it's not just because the famous Michael Phelps has been crushing it with making records with his gold, but because of what people have noticed on his shoulders.
Along with Phelps, there have been a lot of swimmers in the Olympics with strange, purplish and reddish bruises on their bodies. Before you freak out and think something is wrong, you can rest assured this is a method the athletes use to help relieve soreness in their muscles.
"Cupping" is a form of therapy in which glass, bamboo or plastic jars are placed on the skin to create a suction. The suction helps with blood flow and is said to produce a massage-like effect.
Fixed cupping focuses only on the selected part of the body that the cup is placed on. Moving cupping allowing the cups to be moved around the surface of the skin to treat different parts of the body with creams and oils.
Believe it or not, this method has been around since the ancient times of China. It's a natural way of therapy with plenty of benefits.
Here are a few of the top reasons cupping can be so good for us:
1. Increases Relaxation
People who have tried cupping swear it's almost like acupuncture. Just like massages, cupping removes the stiffness from muscles that may be tense or sore.
The increase in blood flow takes the pressure away, giving a deep-tissue massage-like feeling.
2. Removes Toxins
Cupping pulls at the skin, stimulating the flow of fresh blood throughout the body. This stimulation helps to get rid of the toxins in our systems as the blood flows through tense muscles.
3. Improves Skin Health
Cupping primarily helps with blood flow, this expands the capillaries in our skin, which ultimately helps with the appearance of toned skin.
For a skin-clearing treatment, it's best to apply oil on the skin first before placing the cups for suction. (Who doesn't want skin looking toned?)
4. Speeds Up Healing Process
When we have a cold or a respiratory problem, we feel congested or have a lot of phlegm in our respiratory passages. Cupping keeps blood moving, but it also moves the lymphatic fluid and phlegm in our respiratory tract throughout the body.
Ultimately, this helps our bodies get over colds and respiratory issues way faster. (Yay for being sick less!)
This process also helps to relieve muscle soreness for a lot of Olympic athletes, and because it's natural, it's not harmful to the body. The suctioning of the cups on the surface of the skin over a period of time is what causes those marks you see on Olympians.
So, now you know what those bruises are, and you can push any of your other theories about those weird marks to the side.
Before you try this method, make sure to research the best technique for your body and your needs.
Make 2016 your year to start cupping and to relieve some of those sore muscles the natural way.