Scan this QR Code to follow PureWow on Snapchat!
What the Heck Is Cupping and Why Is Everyone Doing It?
Gregg DeGuire/Getty Images

You’re no stranger to pain: You’ve squeezed into less-than-comfortable heels, endured bikini waxes and suffered through 6 a.m. boot camp. But if you’ve been reading about cupping--which is getting a lot of buzz thanks to its popularity with Olympic athletes--you have to admit, it sounds intense. Here’s what you need to know about the holistic practice.

Related: Your Guide to the Most Relaxing Sunday Ever in NYC

It’s not actually new. The technique has been around for centuries, with evidence of it being practiced as far back as ancient Egypt and Greece. It’s also a staple of traditional Chinese medicine, often alongside acupuncture and massage.

It doesn’t hurt. Well, not really. Essentially it just feels like a warm suction or vacuum cleaner against your skin. (We’re speaking from experience.) You might feel a little pressure, but it’s no worse than when a masseuse works out a knot--just don’t think about it too much.

You don’t need to be an athlete to get it. Like acupuncture, cupping is recommended for a range of ailments, from sore shoulders (thanks, purse) to insomnia (thanks, brain). Celebs like Jennifer Aniston and Gwyneth Paltrow are really into it, too.

Its effectiveness hasn’t been proven. It’s debated whether it works or whether it’s the placebo effect that’s making Michael Phelps feel so great. But if you’re a fan of acupuncture and other alternative remedies, you might want to give it a shot.

Wait to wear that backless dress. The circular bruises--hickeys, really--that cupping leaves behind are no joke, and can last up to a week. Plan around your summer soirées accordingly, unless you’re cool with looking like you just escaped from the Matrix. 

Try it at Shellie Goldstein Associates; locations in Manhattan and the Hamptons; 212-388-0800 or

Related: 5 Summer Dresses Every New Yorker Needs

From Around The Web