Jennifer Aniston Caught With Cupping Marks…But What IS Cupping?

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Jennifer Aniston was recently photographed with several light-colored circular marks on her back. No, the ever empty-wombed one is not trying a new fertility treatment (although I’m sure that’s what the gossip rags will say); the marks are from cupping. And what the hell is cupping, you say? Read on, my friend.

Basically, cupping is an alternative medicine where cups are placed on the skin in order to create suction and draw blood to the surface. This is thought to have health benefits, including increased circulation, removal of toxins and more. Cupping can reportedly help with lung congestion, arthritis, and a host of other ailments. It’s been practiced for thousands of years and dates back to the ancient Egyptians. It’s also been used in Middle Eastern and Chinese cultures.

Cupping can be done dry or wet. Dry cupping is more common and happens when a flammable substance is set inside a cup and set on fire.The cup, then hot, is applied to the skin. As the air cools, it causes suction. (Dry cupping is also often done by merely removing the air from the cup, thus creating suction. It’s sometimes done with something us non-cuppers might recognize as a vacuum. This is sometimes called “air cupping.”).  Wet cupping sounds a little freakier, as it involves medicinal bleeding.

The cups used can be made out of glass, earthenware, or bamboo. Cupping is often done with massage, chiropraction, or other alternative healing methods. If you ever had acupuncture, you may have been cupped before your needles were inserted.


Cupping looks like this, apparently. Pretty chill.

Most people seem to think cupping is bunk, but a 2012 study published in PLoS One found it can have beneficial effects, especially when done in conjunction with acupuncture and medication, especially for conditions like acne and facial paralysis.

Jennifer was known for practicing yoga when it was still kinda weird to practice yoga, so it doesn’t surprise me that she’s a cupper. Would you try or have you tried cupping? I haven’t, but I have to say I definitely would. I mean, why not? The medicinal bleeding option I don’t think I’d give a go, but I don’t see anything wrong with laying down and having a trained person put cups on my body.

Photo of Aniston: Gregg DeGuire/WireImage

Photo of cupping: Shutterstock

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    • LaoTze

      The convoluted absurdity of this article is what makes people from all over the world hate Americans and American mentality. Cupping is not something you “choose” to have done, like having your eyebrows plucked, it’s a MEDICAL PROCEDURE performed by highly trained healthcare professionals who would deem it appropriate as part of your treatment or not. The choice is only yours if you choose to refuse it. A layperson is not qualified to know if cupping is appropriate for them or not.

      • Carrie Murphy

        Hmmm. But if cupping WAS an option as treatment for someone, that person would have the choice whether or not to have cupping performed, correct? I’m not saying everyone should run down the street cupping, but people choose to have acupuncture and choose to have massage and choose to have chiropraction, so I don’t see how cupping is any different.

      • T-Lex

        ? I am a little confused?

        “Cupping can reportedly help with lung congestion, arthritis, and a host of other ailments.” Those are ailments which you would seek medical attention for thus it implies that you would not just try it willy nilly. In this instance cupping sounds like something you would ask a doctor or alternative health professional about. It sounds like a relatively un-invasive procedure that would be a good alternative for people with these ailments.

    • Megan

      As a Chinese medical professional, I have had lots of training in cupping. One of the biggest indications for cupping was not mentioned here…PAIN! who doesn’t get a stiff back every now and then? Cupping can definitely be for everyone. Also in a lot of cultures, cupping is done in the home with great results for colds and flus, aches and pains and other ailments with no “medical” training necessary. It is not a risky procedure, and the side effects are similar to getting a nice massage. Cupping is something for everyone! If you want to try it, I highly recommend it. And it’s true LaoTze, this article is a washed down version of what cupping actually is, and what it is good for, along with the modalities that it is generally paired with such as acupuncture and chinese herbal medicine. But when approaching a culture that relies heavily on western medicine and anything other than that is “alternative,” in my opinion this article is a good introduction to the topic. If you are interested I suggest doing more research, maybe something written by a practitioner of Chinese medicine, who would be an expert in the area! And you should know it has been around for over 3000 years so I would consider it “traditional” medicine rather than “alternative” medicine. It’s great that celebrities are introducing this traditional medicine back into the mainstream.

    • mm

      My ex is Persian and he showed me how to do it for his back pain…his dad always did it for him when he was a kid. It scared me because I always thought I was going to light him on fire when I helped him hahaha. It seemed sort of bogus to me but it did help him, so what do I know.