GLEN ROCK, N.J. — The circular red marks that some olympic athletes have been sporting are actually the result of an effective healing technique, a Glen Rock acupuncturist said.
Hawthorne's Peter DeCicco of DeCicco Acupuncture explained that "cupping therapy" — utilized by gold medalist Michael Phelps and several other swimmers and gymnasts — helps to get stagnated chi and blood moving throughout the muscles.
"Athletes are using cupping for muscle tension, sprains and strains," said DeCicco, formerly of Englewood.
"They use cupping to help loosen up their muscles and break up adhesions so they can have full range of motion and pain relief.
"It also helps their muscles recover faster so they can perform at their optimal level," he said.
The suction technique also treats asthma and the common cold.
There are several cupping methods but DeCicco usually utilizes "fire cupping," during which he places a fire outside of the cup to eat the oxygen inside and create a vacuum effect.
"While the muscles are up inside the cup, new blood and new chi is running underneath into the muscle," the acupuncturist said.
Phelps received treatment in his recent Under Amour campaign (0:45), and 12-time olympic medalist Natalie Coughlin posted a picture of herself being treated last winter.
Two-time world medalist and gymnast Alex Naddour is also known to undergo cupping therapy.
DeCicco Acupuncture is located at 885 Lincoln Ave., Glen Rock.