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Olympic Spotlight Shines on Cupping Therapy

August 16, 2016 BY Definitive Healthcare

Olympic Spotlight Shines on Cupping Therapy

Although the practice of Cupping Therapy has been popular in the East for thousands of years, in the past week it has been one of the trendiest topics. The Olympic Games in Rio brought the world’s attention to thousands of incredible athletes and their nail biting competitions. Michael Phelps, the most decorated Olympic athlete of all time, showed off not only his gold accessories, but also some purple ones. The round purple bruises all over his back elicited chatter and confusion from the audience.

Phelps, who has reportedly used this cupping technique for years, raved to reporters about the health benefits behind the painful looking marks. There are allegedly many muscular, digestive, and overall rehabilitation benefits to cupping that promote healing and recovery. The therapy is even comparable to acupuncture because of overlapping benefits.

But according to a Life Science interview with Dr. Brent Bauer, director of the Mayo Clinic Complementary and Integrative Medicine Program, "I don't think the science of whether it works is really solved." Bauer isn’t the only healthcare figure who doubts the legitimacy of the technique, and many are calling this trend a placebo effect.

Why is cupping such a hot topic in healthcare?

Similarly to when neon sneaker sales skyrocketed shortly after Usain Bolt crossed the finish line in first wearing a pair in 2012, Phelps fans are eager to follow their idol’s lead. While cupping therapy is typically performed by alternative providers, the fact that there are 62,000 physicians with a primary specialty in physical therapy, according to Definitive Healthcare, shows that this is a significant area of medicine. With the spark of interest in this therapy to millions of viewers around the world, the demand for this treatment is estimated to increase, especially among the collegiate athlete population. This cupping craze has stirred a lot of controversy, but more importantly, it has propelled health studies and research attention to another option for health, healing, and muscle recovery.

Definitive Healthcare has the most up-to-date, comprehensive and integrated data on over 7,700 hospitals, 1.4 million physicians, and numerous other healthcare providers. Physicians can be categorized by specialty such as Physical Therapy or Sports Medicine, filtered by procedure types, and sorted by procedure volumes or Medicare payments.

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