This Is Why Michael Phelps Had Those Dark Circles All Over His Back Last Night

Athletes are known to try anything and everything to help their bodies recover from the daily wear and tear of training while they pursue their dreams of rising to the top of their sport.

While many resort to performance enhancing drugs, DNA samples are kept for a decade or more and repeatedly tested as new PEDs and how to test for them are discovered with time.

An athlete busted for PED use, whether at the current Olympics or one that took place 12 years ago, would retroactively strip them of their title and records, and can result in anything from a lifetime ban or the banning of ones entire country from the games. (see: Russia)

As such, the legal options for advanced recovery are rather…unorthodox for most folks. Acupuncture, various specialty massages, acupressure, ice baths, cryotherapy, and a host of other alternative medicine recovery options have been popularized by athletes over time.

When Phelps led the US Olympic Swim Team to gold in the 400m relay, his performance wasn’t the only thing worth noting.


People saw a bunch of brown circles all over Phelps’s back, prompting them to head to Twitter for answers


But the answer was soon revealed by others, though not without seeing them go the extra mile



Despite several “theories” floating around, cupping is an ancient healing technique as old as acupuncture is.

While there are a few different methods of applying thanks to technological advancements, cupping is traditionally done by igniting a flammable liquid in a cup (there’s the name for you) and quickly sealing it along the person being treating, creating a negative pressure that will pull muscles in. It draws out blood, loosens them muscles, and relaxes the central nervous system.

Several members of the US Olympic team can be seen with residual marks from their cupping treatment, but this was far from Phelps’s first time

Personally, I’m all for it. I’d encourage more of you to go out and seek treatment to encourage competition because I’m tired of paying $80 a session.