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.”). Â 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.
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.Â 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