A Cup a Day: The Alternative Treatment That Even Celebs Love

Photo by Vi Vi on Unsplash

Remember way back when Gwyneth Paltrow told us about cupping? The Goop founder appeared at a film premiere with large circles on her back that had people wondering what on Earth had caused the marks. 

While the round shapes resembled something out of a crop circle, they were actually the result of an alternative therapy that has been practiced in Asia for decades.

As with many alternative practices, it comes with a heavy load of skepticism. So what, exactly, is this cupping business that the Avengers actress spoke so highly of?

It is believed that the treatment relieves muscle tension and pain, promotes blood flow, and detoxes the body, making it an alternative—or even complementary—method to traditional practices like physiotherapy. 

“Eastern medicine has a different approach than Western medicine — it’s more holistic,” Paltrow claims. “The root of the problem is addressed, as opposed to a symptom being attended to with prescription medication, only to return.”

Glass, plastic, or silicone suction cups are placed on the area needing work. After a few minutes, they are removed, leaving a red circle where the blood vessels have reacted to the change in pressure. It’s fairly pain-free.

The good news is that the marks disappear fairly quickly, but you can always rock them on a red carpet like Gwyneth.