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Olympics put art of "cupping" in the spotlight; muscle therapy popular among athletes like Phelps

Posted at 5:07 PM, Aug 08, 2016
and last updated 2016-08-08 18:07:39-04

TULSA -- People across the country are talking about the U.S. men's swim team and their big win in the 400-meter freestyle, but what may be just as big of a talker is Michael Phelps' bruises.

Cupping is a lot like acupuncture. It's considered an alternative therapy that can be dated back all the way to the fourth century.

The Chinese used the technique to take away headaches, muscle soreness and stomach pain. Cupping draws the skin up to open up the pores, stimulating the flow of blood.

Mat Sheets with Tulsa sports acupuncture says he sees more than 10 athletes a week who come in to receive the therapy.

"When you're dealing with high-level athletes, they don't want to rest. You can't tell them 'oh take a week off..' they'll laugh. They'll say no, um not doing it," says Sheets. "They'll say I want you to treat me and keep me participating in my sport."

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