What's Really Behind the Big Red Circles on Michael Phelps' Back?

9707 People Viewed - about 28 months ago Sports

Michael Phelps is on your TV screen a lot these days.

When he's on the screen before a race, you'll probably notice some circular red marks on his back and around his right shoulder.

If you've watched any of the Olympics so far, you've most likely seen similar spots on other athletes.

The marks are the result of cupping therapy, a technique using suction cups that has been practiced throughout Asia for thousands of years.

Basically, cupping involves a cup attached to a pump. Athletes put the cup on their skin and create suction with the pump. Some say the technique increases blood flow and helps a person's sore muscles heal.

The spots are bruises from the cups, and they can apparently last up to two or three weeks.

It felt like a pocket of your skin was being sucked by a vacuum cleaner and pinched with an elastic band. And the therapy is believed to mobilize blood flow to the skin.

With the red circles on his back, Michael Phelps won the 200-meter men's butterfly swim again. Later after that, the US swim team won the 4×200-meter freestyle swim, earning Michael Phelps his 21st gold medal.

Congrats on yet ANOTHER gold medal!

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