Why Michael Phelps & Justin Bieber Have the Same Circular Back Bruises
If you watched Michael Phelps win his 19th gold medal last night, you probably asked yourself, â€œWTF is going on with those dark ass bruises on his back?â€
Despite the fact that the bruises make it look like some girl with a perfectly circular mouth went HAM on Michaelâ€™s back, these bruises arenâ€™t from hickeys, theyâ€™re from cupping, which sounds sexual but is actuallyÂ a form of ancient Chinese medicine that celebrities like Justin Bieber helped turn into a big health fad.
I would know, because Iâ€™ve done it.
And I’m not even embarrassed to admit that I tried it solely to understand why Justin likes it so much.
Dating back to ancient times, cupping therapy is a form of acupuncture,Â based on the idea that the suction from the cups mobilizes blood and energy around the body, which can alleviate back pain, deep tissue knots, stress and even the common cold.
As my cupping guru Joannie told me when I went to her for a treatment, cupping is basically “a massage in reverse.”
â€œIn Chinese medicine, your whole body is full of meridians, full of channels where chi and blood flow,â€ Joannie explained. â€œAnd what happens when you need acupuncture is that when the chi/blood flow is disrupted, when somethingâ€™s stagnant or thereâ€™s blockage, thatâ€™s when you have either pain, disease or illness â€” somethingâ€™s happened because the flow is being blocked.â€
The darker the bruise, the more blockage was occurring underneath the skin.
But let’s get back to the massage part.
Having endured a cupping session myself, I can tell you the real reason why celebrities like cupping so much.
The second the cups are released from your back, it feels like you died and went to heaven.
Like, full disclosure, Iâ€™ve never tried heroin, but I imagine that this sense of instant bodiless bliss is more or less exactly what it feels like to shoot your arm full of poison.
Only good for you and way less likely to kill you.
Michael, donâ€™t worry.
Weâ€™ve got your back, cupping bruises and all.