New Delhi: Mysterious red and purple circles appearing on Olympians at Rio have been one of the most talked about topics of the 2016 Summer Games.
US swimmer Michael Phelps’ skin was seen spotted with livid ‘polka dots’ and so was the case of gmynast Alex Naddour.
These perfectly round circular marks are from an ancient Chinese technique called cupping therapy.
Cupping is an ancient treatment that relies upon creating a local suction to mobilize blood flow in order to prompte healing. 
A cup is left in place for a few minutes which results in blood stasis and localized healing takes place. 
Cupping aids in toxin release, lymphatic activation, reduced muscle pain and increased oxygen flow in fascia and muscular tissues. 
Some of the medical conditions that cupping treats are fever, pain, vertigo, and menstrual imbalances. It also aids a weakened appetite and accelerates healing.
This technique is also mentioned in Ebers Papyrus, the oldest medical text book of the Western world. 
This is how the procedure works: 
·         An inflammable substance in a cup is set on fire
·         A cup is put upside down on the patient’s skin
·         A vacuum is created inside the cup as the air cools down
·         This causes skin redness and expansion of blood vessels
·         The cup is left on the skin for up to 3 minutes
Cupping is not advised over skin ulcers or to the abdominal or sacral regions of pregnant women.
This Chinese medical technique has been used by several Hollywood celebrities, including Jennifer Aniston, Victoria Beckham and Denise Richards, who have been regularly employing the therapy since a long time.
In spite of its huge popularity amongst celebrities and sports stars, there has been no scientific evidence yet to suggest that the much-talked about medieval cupping technique actually works. 
The big question is how far did cupping impact Michael Phelps’ gold haul at the Rio Olympics?

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