Athletes at the Rio Olympics aren’t only making headlines for their amazing performances. Instead, many of them have also garnered a ton of attention for sporting huge red circles all over their skin.
US swimmers Michael Phelps and Natalie Coughlin are among the athletes who have been practicing cupping therapy, which has resulted in the weird red circles.
The ancient Asian technique uses suction cups to allegedly help with pain, back problems and other aches. However, modern science has not been able to confirm the benefits beyond a placebo effect, according to Business Insider’s Rebecca Harrington.
But the therapy was in the mainstream media consciousness long before the Rio Olympians started showing off the strange red circles on their skin. That’s because, as celebrity gossip guru Elaine Lui of Lainey Gossip pointed out, actress Gwyneth Paltrow popularised cupping more than a decade before these athletes.
Paltrow showed up at the 2004 premiere of “Anchorman” showing off the same telltale cupping marks on her back as the Olympic athletes.
At the time, the images inspired a media storm, with publications across the world writing about the practice that resulted in the strange marks on her back. Five years later, in a post on Paltrow’s lifestyle website Goop, the actress wrote of her love for Eastern medicine — and cupping in particular.
“Eastern medicine has a different approach than Western medicine — it’s more holistic,” Paltrow wrote. “The root of the problem is addressed, as opposed to a symptom being attended to with prescription medication, only to return.”
The actress added that she’s “thankful as hell” for antibiotics or surgery when necessary, but that she’s been helped “tremendously by various practices that help the body heal itself.”
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