Freeman, whose home-based massage therapy practice is called A Healing Touch, is performing cupping therapy, a form of an ancient, holistic health treatment. Proponents of the treatment believe it offers a variety of health benefits: That it increases blood flow within the muscles and surrounding connective tissue; helps muscles recover from strenuous activity; and even draws toxins out of that tissue so they can be flushed out via the lymphatic system. Cupping has been in the news over the past few days, as elite athletes -such as swimmers Michael Phelps of the United States and Pavel Sankovich of Belarus and U.S. gymnast Alex Naddour - have appeared in Olympic competition with cupping's big, telltale red circles dotted across their bodies. (Over the past few years, the practice has also gained celebrity fans such as Gwyneth Paltrow, Jennifer Anniston and Justin Bieber, who have also been photographed with cupping marks on their bodies.) "Massage, in general, along with cupping, helps speed up the recovery process," Freeman says. "So in any sports where you're using — or overusing — muscles repetitively, massage and cupping will help speed up the recovery process so they can go back and work just as hard the next day, and train just as hard." On this recent afternoon, Freeman's massage client is her friend Jay Beckley, of Marlton, New Jersey, who is actually being a good sport — getting cupping done for the first time so Freeman can demonstrate acupuncture for pcos the therapy. Beckley participates in a variety of sports. He’s playing in a golf tournament soon; he’s also a skier and a race-car driver, and has had shoulder surgery. He compares the cupping to a sort of reverse massage. "It doesn't hurt," Beckley says, his face ensconced in the massage-table face rest.
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