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Cupping for Glory

2016-11-10 本文来自:《国际人才交流》2016/9 作者:China Daily 分享 |

When swimming superstar Michael Phelps won his 19th Olympic gold medal on Aug 8 with the US’ victory in the 4x100-meter freestyle relay, what caught people’s attention wasn’t only his unprecedented number of wins, but also the strange red circles on his back and shoulders.

These circles are no mystery to us in China – they are marks left over from cupping therapy. People do it all the time – our neighbors do it, our parents do it and we might try it from time to time when we have a cold or sore muscles.

But apparently the Westerners are deeply puzzled by the marks. As a joke, The Chicago Tribune made four wild guesses of what they might be: “a) *nicotine patches of some sort; b) very *bland tattoos; c) extraordinarily precise *hickeys; d) ports used to feed software updates to this gold-medal-winning *aquatic machine.” Some people even fear that they might be a symptom of the Zika virus.

Western media also couldn’t stop reporting about it, with headlines like the BBC’s “Why are so many Olympians covered in large red circles?” and Daily Mail’s “Team USA go crazy for ancient healing technique called cupping”.

All of a sudden, interest in cupping therapy has spiked. People are wondering whether it actually works and how it works.

According to American gymnast Alex Naddour, the therapy works like a magic trick. “That’s been the secret that I have had through this year that keeps me healthy. It’s been better than any money I’ve spent on anything else,” he told USA Today, “It has saved me from a lot of pain.”

As for how it works, American actress Gwyneth Paltrow – one of the reported celebrity fans of cupping, in addition to Jennifer Aniston, Victoria Beckham and Lady Gaga – explained it pretty well.

“It gets the blood circulating back through whichever point that is and to, you know, clear the energy and get the *toxins out,” she told The Chicago Tribune, “It looks painful, but actually it feels amazing and it’s very relaxing.”

But the media are still quite skeptical about the therapy, saying there is no scientific evidence to prove its effectiveness. Even so, The Guardian’s editor Kate Carter thinks it’s understandable that Olympians are willing to try it because most Olympic wins are “marginal”, which means any method that could improve performance, however small, is helpful.

“Think of cupping as the anti-science version,” wrote Carter, “After all, most athletes have their own rituals and superstitions – and if a lifetime of dreaming of gold came down to a few minutes of your life, you would take every edge you can get too, and feel all the better for it.”


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