Cupping, a therapy in Chinese medicine in which heated glass cups are applied to the skin, has been gaining more popularity recently, as athletes in the Olympics actually sport the skin marks made from it.
A practitioner will put a glass specialized cup on the skin, then using heat or an air pump to create a suction between the two surfaces. This pulls the skin to increase blood flow to the affected areas, which speeds up and helps muscle recovery in those specific areas.
Michael Phelps states that he actually does it “pretty much every meet” he performs in. He has been doing it for two years so far, and it seems like it is working pretty well in his muscle recovery.
Additionally, LaShawn Merritt, a track and field athlete who recorded the top time in the world this year in the 400m race, is also an advocate of cupping. The executive director of the track and field team actually learned about the technique while traveling in China. The benefits that he received from cupping include an increase in motion and gets rid of subtle tissue lesions.