Cupping – Centuries old Islamic therapy going viral

Many of the athletes at the Olympics 2016 being held at Rio, Brazil have been seen with large circular marks all over their skin. This has caused a lot of buzz all over the social media, with people wondering what exactly this is. The simple answer is cupping. All these athletes have taken to cupping, an ancient healing therapy that uses suction cups to relieve pain. The suction cups leave behind circular marks, as can be seen on the bodies of many Olympians.

Getting fame by athletes and celebrities:

Michael Phelps, a swimming legend and America’s most decorated Olympian of all time, with over 23 Olympic medals, has been making headlines with these purple circular patches that were seen over his body during the Rio games. After achieving victory in the 4×100 freestyle relay on Sunday night, Phelps arrived at the pool on Monday afternoon with these circular bruises on his body. It was the result of his latest cupping session with his trainer. Phelps gave the following comments on cupping:

“I’ve been doing it for a while, I guess he (my trainer) hit me with it pretty good this time.”


Michael Phelps


Alexander Naddour, a famous Olympic Gymnast has been quoted saying the following regarding cupping:

“It is the secret that I have had through this year that keeps me healthy. It’s been better than any money I’ve spent on anything else.”


Alexander Naddour

Other than these Olympian athletes, celebrities such as Victoria Beckham Gwyneth Paltrow, Justin Bieber and Jennifer Aniston have also taken to cupping.

How it works:

The practice involves placing small glass cups on the skin, then pulling them from the body to relax the muscles and boost blood flow. It’s a sort of deep tissue massage.

Small round glass suction cups are warmed, then placed on sore parts of the body. The placement of the glass cup creates a partial vacuum, which is believed to stimulate muscles and blood flow. Then either heat or an air pump is used to create suction between the cup and the skin, pulling the skin slightly up and away from the underlying muscles. The cups are placed on the skin for about ten minutes. And the bruises or marks generally fade after two to four days or even a week.


Cupping is used as a treatment for an array of ailments, including muscular pain, joint pain, and skin problems. It has also been used as an alternative treatment for cancer.

A study by the Beijing University of Chinese Medicine in 2012 concluded that cupping has a “potential positive short-term effect” on lessening the intensity of pain.


What most people don’t know is that cupping is actually a centuries-old Islamic remedy known as ‘Hijama’. The word ‘Hijama’ means ‘drawing out’ in Arabic. After centuries this old Islamic cure is now being backed by modern science. While science has recently realized its benefits, our religion had recommended it thousands of years ago. In various hadith, the Holy Prophet (P.B.U.H) has advised cupping, recommending it as the best remedy, a helpful cure and a fine medicine.

Previous post

Pakistani Cultural Taboo which needs to be abolished

Pakistani Olympians
Next post

Pakistani Olympians 2016 making us proud

No Comment

  1. […] has been abuzz with stories of Olympic athletes, such as Micheal Phelps, displaying huge circular marks on their body. The marks are caused due to cupping – or Hijama, […]

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Ayma Mansoor

Ayma Mansoor

An engineer by profession, discovering her passion for writing. Aspiring to promote positivity!