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Michael Phelps and the Great Cupping Debate: Why the Olympic Gold Medalist May Actually Be Right

The Journal of Traditional Chinese Medical Sciences analyzed 16 studies on cupping and suggested that it reduces pain in the short-term “compared with no treatment, heat therapy, usual care, or conventional drugs.” This arcane subset of traditional medicine was featured in Newsweek due in no small part to Olympic legend Michael Phelps.

Olympic swimming fans everywhere are talking about cupping these days: a discussion brought on by Michael Phelps' and Cody Miller's purple-dotted shoulders. While more research may help explain the exact mechanisms behind cupping's healing power, many patients are satisfied knowing it works for them — regardless of the how or why. The procedure itself is typically painless (provided excessive suction is not used), and the bruises — which indicate that stagnant blood has been drawn from the tissue to the surface — will typically disappear within days. The publicity and attention Michael Phelps' has brought to cupping will continue to resonate with a public that has been poisoned by toxic allopathic treatments.
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