What are those purple marks on Michael Phelps?

It is called cupping.

In addition to therapies such as herbal medicine, acupuncture, and Tui Na, cupping is a Traditional Chinese Medicine healing therapy that involves using small glass cups on the skin that create a suction. Cupping can be used to relieve back and neck pain, stiff muscles, anxiety, fatigue, migraines, clearing congestion in the lungs, etc.

One of the earliest documentations of cupping can be found in the work titled A Handbook of Prescriptions for Emergencies, written by a Taoist herbalist and alchemist named Ge Hong. It dates all the way back to 300 AD.

 

 

 

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