This is certainly the worst summer of your life if you happen to be a super fan of Olympic sports who also suffers from trypophobia. All your favorite athletes are covered in spots! The hot look at the Rio games right now is definitely DalmatianCore thanks to the popularity of the practice known as “cupping” lots of the athletes have adopted. It’s got roots in ancient Chinese healing practices, similar to acupuncture. The process involves placing cups on your body, adding heat or suction to pull the skin away from the muscles. As the Times wrote, “Athletes who use it swear by it, saying it keeps them injury free and speeds recovery.” Michael Phelps does it, Hope Solo does it, Natalie Coughlin does it, and certainly a lot more people who believe in Mercury in retrograde and juice cleanses are going to try it after its moment in the spotted-light.
Should you try it? I don’t know! Definitely don’t take medical advice from us, but if you are into trying things that are labeled “pseudoscience” on Wikipedia, who are we to stop you. Maybe you’re wondering: is this some super fancy treatment you can only pay for using coins made out of smelted gold medals? No, it’s actually pretty cheap, and you can do it at lots of places in Brooklyn. It’s not for everyone though, apparently.
“With cupping, it depends on the constitution of the person,” one practitioner in Greenpoint told me. “We don’t always recommend it depending on what the person is coming in for.”
Here’s a price check of what cupping costs around Brooklyn.
476-478 Court St., Carroll Gardens
Cupping cost: $35
From the website: “Originally called ‘horn therapy,’ Cupping has been seen in many variations in countries such as Greece, France, Italy, Turkey, Eastern Europe and even as far as South America. Its long history of use in conjunction with acupuncture has been well documented; however, it is also used as a therapy in its own right.”
Cobble Hill Acupuncture
113A Pacific St., Cobble Hill
Cupping cost: $30-$60 per session
From the website: “Cupping has the function of warming and promoting free flow of Qi and blood in the meridians: dispelling cold and dampness, reducing swelling and pain. It is used to treat pain of the lower back, shoulders, and legs; stomach aches, vomiting, and diarrhea; and coughs and asthma. Read more about cupping here.”
7104 Eighth Ave., Dyker Heights
Cupping cost: $45
From a Yelp review: “After your session, it can feel like you’ve been pummeled, but in a good way! My muscles were tender and sore (and you get “octopus kisses” from the cupping), but the stress and tension was lifted. It’s worth giving it a shot, if you are in pain, and don’t want to rely on medication.”
790A Union St., Park Slope
Cupping cost: $150 without insurance for the initial visit, in conjunction with acupuncture; $130 for follow up visits
From the website: “This is a method of applying acupressure by creating a vacuum on the your skin to remove blockages (i.e. inflammation), thereby improving Qi flow—to treat respiratory diseases such as the common cold, pneumonia, and bronchitis. It is also used on the body to treat muscular spasms and pain.”
208 Driggs Ave. Greenpoint
Cupping cost: $35-$60 for initial session, $25-$50 for followup (sliding scale payments available!)
From Yelp: “Cupping has been offered without asking, with great results. I can’t recommend Worksong highly enough. Worth the ride on the G train!”
Brooklyn Acupuncture Project
530 Third Ave., Gowanus
Cupping cost: $30-$60, sliding scale
From a Yelp review: “Migraines first drove me into the arms of an Eastern medicine man in South Korea a few years ago, when the mysterious medications prescribed to me by the local Western clinician seemed too iffy and strong. Some crazy cupping bruises ensued, but the headaches vanished, along with the knots in my neck that were causing the problem.”
Neighborhood Natural Medicine
30 Maujer St #2A, East Williamsburg
Cupping cost: Introductory visit is $155, follow-ups are $78.
From the website: “The basic premise we follow is that the body is not only capable of healing itself, but has a natural, built-in instinct to move towards health if given the appropriate stimulation and environment.”
Follow Tim for more pseudoscience and pseudohumor: @timdonnelly.