Cupping: Should You Follow Paltrow, Simpson?

By ABC News

Apr 22, 2013 9:41am

ABC News’ Linzie Janis and Melissa Lustrin report:

Actress Jennifer Aniston turned heads when she attended the premiere of her latest movie Tuesday with large round welts all over her back.

The actress’ reps told ABC News that the marks are likely the result of cupping,  an ancient therapy thought to relieve tension and improve circulation.  According to experts, the suction of the cups causes the blood vessels to dilate and open and allow the blood to flow.

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Aniston isn’t alone in turning to traditional healing methods for improved health. Gwyneth Paltrow, Victoria  Beckham, Jessica Simpson and David Arquette are among the ranks of stars who have reportedly embraced the method.

Cupping, which costs around $100 per session, doesn’t just target physical pain. Some people say it increases fertility and can even help emotional well-being.

“My money would be on musculoskeletal problems,” said Robert MacDonald, director of healing at Exhale Spa in Manhattan, of why celebs would turn to cupping.  “But it is possible they are working on organ systems, emotional and physical at the same time.”

Some doctors say there’s no evidence that cupping really works as a detox technique.

“Generally cupping is considered very safe, although better designed studies still need to be done to make more of a conclusive statement,” said Dr. Lawrence Taw, assistant clinical professor at the UCLA Center for East-West Medicine.

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