These bruises are caused by “cupping” — an ancient Chinese medical technique that may — or may not — stimulate muscles and increase blood flow, possibly relieving pain. The practice has become newly trendy among athletes and celebrities, experts said.
Cupping gets its name from special round cups that are placed on the skin over targeted muscle groups. These cups create suction against the skin, either by being heated or through use of an air pump.
The cosmetic result is apparent.
“When you put enough suction anywhere on the body, you get a bruise. You get that with a hickey,” said Dr. Brent Bauer, director of the Mayo Clinic Complementary and Integrative Medicine Program in Rochester, Minn. “You’re basically rupturing some of the tiny blood vessels.”
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