2004 Just Called: Cupping Is Back

Cupping is back, people. Thanks to Olympic swimming champion Michael Phelps, who appeared with round red marks all over his back at the Olympics this week, Gwyneth Paltrow's favourite therapy of 2004 has made a return to the headlines. But, if you're sitting there scratching your head and wondering what cupping actually is, don't worry, we'll get to it. 

Waaay before Goop, in the early Noughties Paltrow appeared at the Anchorman premiere with strange red marks all over her back, which she revealed had appeared as a result of cupping therapy. Over the years, other A-listers have also been fans of the practice, with Jennifer Aniston also sporting the circles. But, to be honest, we had long forgotten all about it.

That was until this year's Olympics. While Phelps has won yet more gold medals, all anyone can do is talk about those red circles. But it wasn't just him, other swimmers, such as Natalie Coughlin, have been benefiting from the therapy too. Also this week, Kim Kardashian West revealed that she's been experiencing neck problems so has turned to cupping to help. Clearly, this is the therapy everyone's talking about right now. But why? 

Keep scrolling to take a look at who's trying cupping right now and what it can do for you.


Cupping is a therapy that has been practiced for thousands of years. A practitioner will perform suction on the skin, using either heat or a device. Skin is then drawn upwards into the cup creating a vacuum, where it stays for 15 minutes or so. This is done in order to get blood flowing and to ease stress. 


While there is no concrete scientific evidence that says cupping works, it's thought that it can help heal the body quicker. From treating pain and scar tissue, as well as muscle knots and swelling, there are many reasons this therapy is used, so it's easy to understand why athletes are up for giving it a try.

Speaking about his reasons for cupping Phelps said:

“I’ve done it before meets, pretty much every meet I go to, so I asked for a little cupping yesterday because I was sore and the trainer hit me pretty hard and left a couple of bruises.”

For more information about cupping head over to britishcuppingsociety.org

Opening Image: Startraks Photo/REX/Shutterstock

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