Cupping: Does it work?

NIAGARA FALLS, N.Y. (WIVB) – Olympians in Rio have taken to cupping. It’s an ancient therapy meant to release tension in your muscles. Several athletes have posted pictures of their polka dotted limbs and backs, a side effect of the treatment.

Dr. Andrew Willis with Advanced Care Physical Therapy says the placement of the glass cup creates a partial vacuum. This is believed to stimulate muscles and blood flow, while relieving pain and speeding healing.

He said, “:It definitely helps people decrease the tone within the tissue and help loosen it up.”
But some Doctors say there’s no scientific evidence proving the therapy can heal anything. Studies are underway looking more closely at its potential medical benefits, but Willis says there’s no cure-all.

Willis said, “Everyone looks for the quick fix. This is going to help them, this is going to cure me. But its usually a combination of therapies that is most beneficial to your patients.”
Willis says he uses it alongside exercises and strength training and likens it to an intense athletic massage. Part of which he says has a major mental component

He said, “Instead of you’re breaking up scar tissue, you’re more just giving stimulus and you’re brains like okay lets relax!”

The red marks aren’t permanent, but they could last for up to a month.

If you’d like more information about physical therapy or cupping head to the Advanced Care Physical Therapy website. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review. Note: Comments containing links are not allowed.

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