This is why swimmers have circular bruises on their backs 馃憞馃徎

5 minute read 路 Issue Number 68 路 May 14th, 2021

Welcome to another weekly edition of Sports-Tech Biz! Every Friday, we learn about intriguing topics related to sports, business, and technology. If you鈥檙e reading this online or in a forwarded email, sign up for the newsletter:


Last week, I ran a poll asking what sport shall we cover today. Over 14% of you voted, and the most popular answer was swimming!

Today鈥檚 question is:

What technology shall we discuss in next week鈥檚 newsletter?

A.I | Smart Stadiums | VR & AR | GPS Tracking

^ click on your answer ^

The word you click will open its Wiki page 鈥 feel free to close it 鈥 the newsletter calculates click %, and I鈥檒l write about the tech that gets the highest %!

I鈥檝e always been curious about the circular bruises that swimmers have on their backs.

Today we鈥檒l talk about it. What is it, and why swimmers use it?

Shall we?

The History of Cupping Therapy

It was back in the Olympics in Rio in 2016 when Michael Phelps 鈥 the greatest swimmer of all times (GSOAT) 鈥 attracted the media's attention for having mysterious circular red bruises on his back and shoulders.

It turns out that this mysterious practice is better known as cupping, and it鈥檚 a recovery technique.

While it became trendy in sports after 2016, this alternative medicine can be traced back thousands of years to China, Egypt, and the Middle East to heal various illnesses such as asthma, arthritis, hypertension, and headaches.

Today, cupping therapy can treat blood disorders, high blood pressure, anxiety, and depression, among other uses.

How does it work?

Cupping therapy works by heating small glass cups and placing them on the skin to suck and stretch tight muscles. The process only takes about five minutes.

The cups lift the skin off the muscle or bone, allowing the blood vessels to expand and let blood flow to the targeted area.

Then, the therapist pulls the cups from the body, and this loosens and relaxes the muscles.

Circular bruises appear because the capillaries underneath the cups break with the suction.

The benefits?

Why athletes use it?

A post shared by @m_phelps00

They use it to help their muscles speed up the recovery process and increase performance.

When swimmers have little time between events and need to recover quickly, many turn to this therapy. Others may use it as a common practice and have it in their routines.

Check out this quick video of Olympic swimmers explaining this practice:

Does cupping actually work?

A few studies suggest it may work, but actual evidence proving whether this practice works or not is still questionable.

Athletes who compete on the highest levels will do whatever it takes to improve their chances of winning.

So even if there鈥檚 a slight chance it works, athletes will keep going for it.

馃帣 Halftime Snack of the Week

Optimizing Human Performance

My most recent podcast episode features Quin Sandler, CEO & co-founder of Plantiga 鈥 a startup looking to optimize human performance, resilience, and recovery by monitoring and analyzing athletes鈥 biomechanics.

In our chat, we snacked about:

  • Entrepreneurship

  • Skills and career development

  • How Plantiga鈥檚 product helps athletes

  • The future of human performance

It鈥檚 a fun one!

Read the transcript here.

Listen on Apple | Spotify | Google.


馃挕 Whoever Generates the Demand Captures the Value; The fans aren鈥檛 there to see the NBA. They鈥檙e there to see the players in the NBA. Take out Lebron and 20 other stars, and you could create a new NBA overnight.

鉀筹笍 Making Golf More Inclusive; How one golf executive is reckoning with the sport鈥檚 past discrimination and building a more inclusive future.

馃崯 Sunday Bites with Liam Killingstad; The most relevant headlines in sports-biz & sports-tech, every Sunday! Join us @LiamKillingstad and @Ronenain.

On the emoji scale, how much did you enjoy today鈥檚 newsletter?

馃檮 | 馃槓 | 馃檪 | 馃槂 | 馃ぉ

Until next week,

Ronen Ainbinder

Twitter: @Ronenain
Book a call with me:

Sports-Tech Biz

Twitter: @sports_techbiz
Instagram: @sportstechbiz
Read more:

Halftime Snacks Podcast

Listen on Apple
Listen on Spotify
Listen on Google