Where to Get Cupping Therapy in Upstate South Carolina

Did you notice those bright purple circles on Michael Phelps during the men's 4x100-meter relay in the 2016 Rio Olympics? No, he wasn't trying to make a fashion statement, and no, they weren't the remnants of a risqué evening. Those bruise-colored circles are actually the markings of a Chinese therapy called "cupping."

Cupping has been around for centuries, but like with most things, we can count on trendy celebrities and Olympic athletes to bring it to the spotlight.

An ancient medicinal art, cups are heated and placed strategically along the spine, creating a suction to stimulate blood flow and promote healing to certain areas of the body. For instance, if you want to treat lung problems, the cups would be placed along the spine where nerves that service the lungs are located.

In Phelps' case, he and many other Rio Olympians have turned to cupping to soothe aches and pains. Some sources go so far as to say cupping can also prove a viable pain relief option for cancer patients, though other sources highly dispute the claim.

So the big question is, does it really work? The only way to find out is to suck it up and give it a try, and here are a few places to start:

Stone Avenue Acupuncture.
With an office right off Stone Avenue in Greenville and another office on East Main Street in Spartanburg, Shawn Jacobs, L.Ac., specializes in all things acupuncture, including cupping. You'll enjoy up to 90 minutes of treatment for $90 if you're a first-timer; the price drops to $75 for subsequent visits.

The Center of Bliss.
Katie Edwards, L.Ac., and her team use cupping as one of their modalities, and it may be used in conjunction with other therapies, like acupuncture and moxibustion. A cupping session here generally runs between $80-$115, but the buzz around Greenville says it's definitely worth it.

Zen Garden Spa. Sorry, no walk-ins. Located off South Main Street in Woodruff, SC (a 20-30 minute drive from Greenville or Spartanburg), you'll need to schedule an appointment first. Available as an add-on to a Swedish massage, you can try a 30-minute cupping session for $40. Or, if you're brave enough, you can enjoy an hour for $69, or a whopping 90 minutes for $100.

Alli Hill is a native Upstate South Carolinian who believed she knew all things Greenville... until she heard of cupping. Originally from Seneca, South Carolina, Alli's penchant for Greenville has only grown stronger through the years, and now enjoys several visits a year with her husband and two children.