The ancient practice of cupping, where a section of skin is reverse-suctioned to provide relief to the injured or sore muscle below, has been prominently displayed at the 2016 Rio Olympics where swimmer Michael Phelps and a host of gymnasts are walking around with the after effects of the treatment: A perfectly shaped circular bruise. While cupping sounds enticing, little evidence suggests that the ancient treatment actually works beyond the often underestimated placebo effect. Instagram
is the Science Editor at Popular Science. She has a particular interest in brain science, the microbiome, and human physiology. In addition to Popular Science, her work has appeared in The New York Times, Scientific American, and Scholastic’s Science World and Super Science magazines, among others. She has a bachelor’s degree in neurobiology from the University of California, Davis and a master’s in science journalism from New York University's Science, Health, and Environmental Reporting Program. Contact the author here.