Here’s Why Rio Athletes Have Weird Red Marks All Over Their Bodies

No, they’re not love bites; this is therapy.

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1 min read
Athletes photographed with red marks all over their body. (Photo Courtesy: Instagram/<a href="">weix105437</a>)

A number of Olympians – including decorated ones like Michael Phelps – have been photographed with red blotches dotted all over their body.

Love Bites or Something Else?

Michele Phelps with “cupping” marks. (Photo Courtesy: Instagram/<a href="">weix105437</a>)
Michele Phelps with “cupping” marks. (Photo Courtesy: Instagram/weix105437)

Marks that have garnered more attention than the practice sessions and the performances have a therapeutic reason behind them. They are the result of a practice known as “cupping”, an ancient Chinese healing therapy.

The technique is a form of acupuncture wherein different parts of the body are sucked into tiny glass jars with the help of warm cotton. Once the cotton is cold, the drop in temperature makes the jar stay in its place.

Thanks @arschmitty for my cupping today!!! #mpswim #mp 📷 @chasekalisz

A photo posted by Michael Phelps (@m_phelps00) on

How Does it Help the Athletes?

The skin once sucked allows for a smoother flow of blood, leaving red marks in the bargain.

This therapy eases the athletes of pains and aches, and relaxes the body after continuous training sessions.

Athletes in this day and age are not devoid of relaxation techniques. They have saunas, spas, warm baths, de-stressing sessions; yet, this ancient Chinese therapy is attracting many because of its proven healing ability.

US gymnast Alex Naddour told USA Today that cupping therapy was “better than any money I’ve spent on anything else.”

The next time you see someone with red blotches, be careful about attributing it to weird sexual practices!

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