The round dark bruises seen on some of the Olympians in Rio are creating a lot of buzz, but it's nothing new for Alex Dalpe, a local football player at California State University, Sacramento.
"They put like a little thing, like a flame into a cup or something and then they put it on your skin,” Dalpe said. “It burns for a couple of seconds, but afterwards you don't feel anything, so it's pretty useful.”
Dalpe has used it in the past, he said.
"My ankle was really hurting and I needed something to get ready for the game that we had to play," he said.
Tean Li Wu, owner of Tian Chao Herbs, provides cupping therapy for her clients and it's not always for athletes.
"If you have a discomfort, you have aches and pains, we treat even with the cold and flu and we treat all kinds of indigestion," Li Wu said.
The process starts by heating glass cups, Li Wu said, then placing them on the body to create suction. The suction then releases toxins, promotes blood circulation and helps treat sprains and muscle pain, Li Wu said.
These suction cups are left on the body for a couple of minutes. The color of the bruises left on the body afterwards can indicate a number of different things.
"Some people can get dark marks on the body that indicate that that area may have a problem,” Li Wu said. “When it's nice and pink, it indicates that it's healthy."
Another thing that goes away – the bruises – but that will take an average of three to five days.