Cupping clinics in London are seeing an increase in interest since the procedure became the talking point of the 2016 Rio Olympics. Speaking to IBTimes UK in a recent interview, one practitioner told us "[the Olympics has] had massive result in our internet hits and calls and queries."
"We've seen spikes across the last couple of years, every time there's a tweet with a celebrity showing pictures," said Dr Farhat of the London Cupping Clinic, "we've seen Amir Khan, Andy Murray... all of these pictures once they get released create a little swarm around this field."
Notably during the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, American Swimmer, Michael Phelps caused an internet storm when he was seen sporting the red circular marks left by cupping. During the procedure, a cup is suctioned onto part of the body causing the skin to raise and blood to rush to the area. This leaves bruises that can take over a week to heal.
Farhat told IBTimes UK that the practice is thought to originate from the far-east, namely China, "around the same time as acupuncture, so we're talking about 2,500 years ago." There are two types of procedure – wet or dry cupping. In wet cupping, tiny cuts are made to the skin before the cup is suctioned on so it involves some blood letting; dry cupping (as seen in the video above) does not involve blood letting.
It's not only athletes who have been seen undertaking the practice – celebrities like Gwyneth Paltrow and Jennifer Aniston have also been having cups suctioned to their bodies as part of the alternative therapy.
Farhat told us that though there is some interest after those celebrities, it's the sportspeople that really bring the calls – "we do get a little bit of interest from that field but it's more athletes that are doing it for injury prevention or cure, that's where our interest is generated."