Cupping has made its mark on the 2016 Rio Olympics.  With Michael Phelps racing to glory for his 23rd Olympic medal, the internet was a buzz wondering why he and several athletes have been spotted with large purple circles covering their bodies. A bar fight with an octopus? An up and close encounter with an alien in the Olympic village?

Nope. Phelps and his fellow Olympians have been using a popular, yet ancient technique called Cupping. At Aligned Modern Health, we use cupping to treat a broad range of symptoms, relieve pain and promote healing.

Athletes find that it speeds up recovery time and can help prevent further injury. The technique works by bringing blood flow to the affected area which reduces soreness and can speed up the healing time of overworked muscles. Below the surface, cupping creates a vacuum effect that draws stagnant blood and other fluids away from the injury so that healthy circulation can be restored.

Cupping is not just for athletes, though. It can be used to help anyone who has been injured or suffering from muscular pain. It can even be beneficial to address old injuries that may not have properly healed. From resolving back pain to relieving shoulder tension, among its numerous benefits, cupping has been known to help clear congestion from a common cold, can work wonders for the flu, and can also be used to control asthma.

Bentevb at English Wikipedia [GFDL (, CC-BY-SA-3.0 ( or CC BY-SA 2.5-2.0-1.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

Bentevb at English Wikipedia [GFDL (, CC-BY-SA-3.0 ( or CC BY-SA 2.5-2.0-1.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

Cupping is all natural and aside from temporary blemishes, it has minimal side effects. Many recipients find that the sensation created during Cupping can bring relaxation and has a “feel good” effect.

“Despite the dramatic looking marks, cupping is not a painful process. I like to think of it like a reverse massage. Instead of pushing into the skin we gently pull and separate the layers of muscles to increase blood flow and accelerate the body’s ability to heal itself,” Dr. Lamya Kamel of Aligned Modern Health said.

After a Cupping treatment, the tell-tale marks are often seen as a badge of honor, in part thanks to celebrities like Gwyneth Paltrow, Lena Dunham, and Justin Bieber who have brought the holistic treatment to the mainstream spotlight in recent years.
While Cupping looks cool, there are a few things to keep in mind after receiving your treatment. Dr. Lamya Kamel cautions patients to avoid strenuous activity and extreme weather for at least 12 hours following treatment. Keep covered and drink plenty of water. Your pores are more open after cupping which makes you temporarily more vulnerable. Ultimately, your cells are rewarded with better absorption of nutrients and improved blood flow.

If you’re interested in learning more about Cupping in Chicago, visit us and schedule a complimentary consultation with one of our top-rated acupuncturists at an Aligned Modern Health location near you.