What Are the Purple Dots on Michael Phelps? Cupping Has an Olympic Moment
Physiologically, cupping is thought to draw blood to the affected area, reducing soreness and speeding healing of overworked muscles. Athletes who use it swear by it, saying it keeps them injury free and speeds recovery. Phelps, whose shoulders were dotted with the purple marks as he powered the relay team, featured a cupping treatment in a recent video for a sponsor. He also posted an Instagram photo showing himself stretched on a table as his Olympic swimming teammate Allison Schmitt placed several pressurized cups along the back of his thighs. “Thanks for my cupping today!” he wrote.