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Olympic Athletes Use Them, But do These Recovery Therapies Really Work?

from PBS NewsHour

The dark red splotches visible on the bodies of U.S. swimmer Michael Phelps and gymnast Alex Naddour during the Olympic Games has sent interest in cupping, the traditional eastern medicine technique, soaring in recent days.

But the benefits of this and other therapeutic techniques used on athletes are often unclear. According to the International Olympic Committee, a proper warm-down and certain recovery therapies can help athletes address increased blood pressure, elevated heart rates and stiff muscles that follow extreme physical exertion. But the IOC points out that not all therapy techniques are scientifically proven.

The NewsHour reached out to two health researchers for some perspective on the efficacy of cupping and other common recovery and healing therapies used by Olympians.

Tim Caulfield is research director of the Health Law Institute at the University of Alberta. He has studied how science and health are represented in the public sphere for more than a decade. “Some people call it debunking,” he says of his work. more

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