Odds are, you don’t put your body through even a fraction of what Olympic athletes do in a day. Actor Bill Murray recently tweeted that we should put average folks next to Olympic athletes in competition just for reference, and it’s totally true: Next to them, our daily cardio and clean diets looks downright lazy. But don’t feel too bad about it. For starters, not all of us were born to swim like fish, run like the wind, or jump as if gravity didn’t apply to us. And while we definitely can’t compete with them, we can treat ourselves to the same post-workout treatments as they do — of course, once you see this, you may not want to. It’s a post-competition physical therapy that’s basically been sweeping the Olympics this year, and inquiring minds want to know just what the hell those red, circular marks are all over the Olympians’ bodies. We’ve got the answers here, along with some cool news: You may not be able to swim like Phelps, but you can totally get the same treatment he does to recover.Yes, that’s Michael Phelps — Olympic champion, world record-breaker, and all around one aquatically blessed kind of dude. But do you see those red marks on his body?
In fact, the marks are indicative of a treatment that’s actually beneficial to these athletes, an ancient practice that actually promotes wellness.
We’re not sure why it’s such a big trend this year, but maybe all of the athletes caught wind of the benefits of this, all at once.
Athletes across multiple sports have cropped up with the marks all over their arms and back.
The marks are actually part of a sports therapy known as cupping.
It’s believed that the practice stimulates blood flow to the areas of the body that have experienced vigorous exercise.
After all, their entire lives consist of vigorous exercise.
It’s all about using cups to create a vacuum on the skin.
When the flame goes out, the air cools and creates the suction, pulling the skin into a vacuum.
Think of it as one big, controlled, circular hickey — but you know, with health benefits.
It seems sort of futuristic and strange, but it’s actually a practice that dates back thousands of years.
The process of cupping has effects quite similar to Chinese acupuncture, and the two treatments are often done in tandem.
Here, Michael Phelps gets his valuable swimmer’s legs treated with cupping.
However, a little bit of pain is worth it if it means that these extreme athletes have quicker healing and recovery times between events.
There’s no limit to the kind of therapy these athletes receive during competition time — deep tissue massages, acupuncture, cupping, wearing copper bracelets, and more. The cupping trend just seems to be the most popular this year — would you try something like this to help heal your weary muscles?