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What is Cupping and Why are Athletes Doing it?

Why do some of the world’s top athletes look as though they’ve been on the receiving end of a brutal paintball firing squad?

US swimmer Michael Phelps’s skin is strewn with livid polka dots, and his compatriot, the gymnast Alex Naddour is also sporting circular welts.

But this is not the result of a corporate team-building exercise. The athletes are among the latest adherents to the traditional Chinese medicine treatment known as “cupping”.

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