ESC: Jennifer Aniston, Cupping

All Access Photo / Splash News

I got cupped.

Cupping is an ancient form of alternative, Chinese medicine dating back thousands of years (read: It's not new). However, recently, photos (and Snapchats) of Hollywood's elite—as well as major Olympic athletes—have surfaced showing off some questionable, perfectly circular, hickey-like bruises on their backs and shoulders. This, we learned from sports acupuncturist Dr. Ed Lamadrid, is the inevitable aftermath of said practice.

Now, it's impossible to say if Michael Phelps' circle-shaped stamps can be credited for his shattering of a 2,168-year-old Olympic record or if Jennifer Aniston's faded marks are what keep her looking so young, but the proposed benefits make cupping worth a try.

ESC: Cupping

Melissa Hebeler / E! News

"Besides relieving pain, [cupping] has a lot of other benefits," said Dr. Lamadrid. "It has a rejuvenating effect, which is why a lot of celebrities like Samuel L. Jackson and Gwyneth Paltrow are using it. It can help you heal faster from a cold—the method boosts your immune system. But all the Olympians are using it preventatively, and it can also help reduce cellulite by remodeling it."

"Cupping is all about circulation—it brings blood to areas that don't normally have it," he explained. "It actually sucks the skin into the cup, releasing the connective tissue underneath the skin that wraps your muscles. Now the muscles are able to move freely without the restriction. As we get tense and tight, the connective tissue that wraps around every single muscle starts twisting, and that's why you think something's wrong...but nothing is wrong with your muscle. It's the covering of the muscle that's actually tightening up. You release that envelope, and your muscle's range of motion is improved."

ESC: Cupping

Melissa Hebeler / E! News

Honestly, he had me at "Gwyneth does it."

Now, because Dr. Lamadrid was visiting from New York, he made a special house, well, office call for us and for that reason he couldn't use the usual glass cups on my back. "Normally I would light something like a cotton ball with alcohol on fire, put that in the cup (which would burn out all the oxygen), then put it on the skin. Eliminating the oxygen inside the cup creates a negative pressure, so as soon as I place it on the skin, it sucks the skin up."

In lieu of glass and fire, the expert used hand-pumped cups on me. "I can moderate how much air is pulled out and therefore how much of your skin is sucked up," claimed the Doc.

At this point, I was head down on a foldable massage table with eight hand-pumped plastic cups on my back—I looked like a stegosaurus.

ESC: Cupping

Melissa Hebeler / E! News

Surprisingly, it wasn't painful. There was pressure and warmth but no pain. It's pretty much the exact sensation you'd imagine and it only lasted as long as they were on—although at one point I did think I might be getting used to it. Dr. Ed kept the cups on me for about 25 minutes, and the marks it left were significant (though, I have to admit, I expected worse). 

I didn't feel real soreness until the next day, though the cupped areas on my back were raised. And two days later, I felt the best—it really did feel like I had a new, supercharged, more flexible back. All the tension I had been feeling was stripped away and I definitely had more motion. I can't speak to the effects on my immune system, but I strongly recommend this for back pain.

So, if you're interested in a little relief or you straight up want to feel rejuvenated, give cupping a try.

You can thank me later.

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