As an athlete, I was first drawn to cupping for its recovery benefits. I thought if one of the most medaled Olympians in the world is cupping, it must have an impact. Licensed acupuncturist, board-certified Chinese herbalist, and co-founder of WTHN acupuncture studio, Shari Auth, confirms, “Cupping is often used by athletes to speed recovery after difficult workouts and to keep muscles energized.” 

I personally have turned to cupping while training for multiple marathons, and it gives me a looseness in my muscles that a typical (and still essential) stretching routine just does not achieve. The cups act as a suction against your skin to improve circulation, pulling tension from your muscles and toxins from your body. The results are similar to a really great massage—but the process simply uses pulling instead of pushing.

Whether you’re training for a 5k or simply increasing the intensity of your typical training, Auth recommends cupping as a way to ease the stress put on your body. She further points out that research proves the treatment has a “significant effect on relieving muscle fatigue.” 

However, it’s important to note that cupping isn’t only for athletes. The practice is also a great tool for detoxing, per Auth. “[It] helps to promote relaxation, enhance circulation, relieve pain, and extract toxins from the body,” she explains.

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