What is cupping? The alternative medicine popular with athletes

Swimmers gliding through the water in the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham have been wowing spectators with their flawless movement. 

But the more curious may also notice the bruise-like perfect circles dotting the backs and upper arms of several athletes. 

The marks are from an ancient healing practice, popular in the Middle East and Islamic world, known as cupping, or hijama in Arabic. The word comes from the Arabic root hajm, which means sucking and expansion.

First popularised among global audiences by US Olympic swimming champion Michael Phelps at Rio 2016, hijama involves the “sucking out” of blood, using suction cups attached to the body. Those who extol its benefits point to relief from nerve pain, migraines and back problems, among other upsides.

Read more at Middle East Eye