Does Cupping Really Work? Why Celebs Like Kim K & Jennifer Aniston Do It

Another day, another Gwyneth Paltrow trend gone too far. (Kidding! Though she was ahead of the curve on this one.) You might know about cupping because of all the celebrities who have posted about it in recent years, but cupping is actually an ancient Chinese alternative medicine that works by facilitating circulation in the body. Celebs including Kim Kardashian, Jennifer Aniston, Victoria Beckham, and Michael Phelps have all tried the treatment out—and most have sung its praises. Basically, it seems like yet another treatment the rich and powerful have known about for years, and it’s finally trickling down to us regular people. Bless up. To learn more about the treatment that may or may not be responsible for Paltrow and Aniston’s eternal youth, I spoke with Ani Baran, L.Ac at NJ Acupuncture Center. Here’s what I found out.

What Does Cupping Do?

It seems like every celeb-slash-cupping fan has a different reason for loving it: Phelps uses it for muscle recovery, obviously, while Kim Kardashian does it in facial form to reduce wrinkles. What is it actually doing to give such a wide range of results? Baran explains: “Cupping the muscle and other tissues upwards.” This helps to “decrease muscle tension while refreshing blood flow,” which in turn promote muscle healing, relieves pain, and can even help with immunity and digestion. “It’s almost like the equivalent of a deep tissue massage,” Baran added. “But instead of having a trained masseuse knead your muscles to release pain and tension, it uses suction.”

If you’re still wondering how this plays into skin care, don’t worry—I had the same question. According to skincare Guru Nurse Jamie, the key is in the increased blood flow that cupping produces. Apparently, increased blood flow equals stimulated lymphatic system equals reduced inflammation, fine lines, and wrinkles. Yay! Science is hard, but so worth it.

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Yes, yes she WANTED her back to look like this! We swear. It's called cupping and it is used for pain, tightness and chest congestion and if you live in NY you probably have one of those issues. Oh, and it doesn't hurt…we know what you're thinking. Shoutout to @wthn for snapping such a cool pic! Stop by for a cupping session today and say BYE BYE ?? ?? to that pesky back pain!⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ #balance #flow #acupuncture #selfcare #breathe #dontworrybehappy #healthyliving #healthylifestyle #16thlife #healthyliving #easternmedicine #treatment #needles #cupping #acupuncturefacial #moxa #acupunctureworks #acupuncturetreatment #tcm #painfree #treatmentsforpain #acupuncturist #nyc #erikaweber #nycacupuncutrist #nycacupuncture

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Who Would Benefit From Cupping?

According to Baran, “nearly everyone.” And given the fact that improved blood flow and circulation does improve such a wide array of symptoms, that’s probably true. But people who might actually need cupping to improve their day-to-day lives would be elite athletes, or anyone seeking pain or stress relief. Whatever it is, be sure to go in with a clear idea of what you’re seeking to treat. Per Baran, any initial consultation for a cupping appointment will include a discussion of “complaints and goals.” (And no, “not having Gwyneth Paltrow’s skin” is not a valid complaint.)

What’s A Cupping Appointment Like?

Here’s where it gets fun. The main reason we all know about cupping now, despite celebs’ best attempts to keep it for themselves, is that it leaves a telltale mark. Well, marks. As shown in the above Instagram, a cupping appointment leaves you with a series of raised red bumps. I asked Baran to describe a typical cupping session, and here’s what she told me: “You will sit or lay in a comfortable position as cups are applied, typically to larger, flat areas. Using heat or fire, the cups are applied at an angle that creates deep suction, and pulls toxins away from the body as it works deeply into the muscles. Usually the cups are applied for anywhere between 10-20 minutes.”

Sounds easy enough, right? Honestly, Paltrow and others describe the feeling as relaxing, though some other reviewers experienced more pain and discomfort. Ultimately, for how gruesome the treatment looks, I’m glad people aren’t leaving in agony. And yes, I do feel incrementally more desperate to have my toxins flow out into little suction cups every time I look at a picture.

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I need to give a huge thank you to @thestretchboss @belowbodybar and @frankstinsonifbbpro for working the knots out today. It’s been a while since the top half of my body moved like this. The last time I had cupping done, I convinced my kids that I was attacked by the kraken while on my pirate ship. They were upset when I told them the truth a few days later. I think because they had hoped I really was a pirate. Little do they know that I still listen to some of the songs I downloaded from Kazaa back in the day, so I’m still a swashbuckler of sorts. #avastyescallywags #recovery #thestretchboss #cupping

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Where Can You Get It Done?

Baran recommends looking to acupuncture centers for this treatment—according to her, that’s “where you’re more likely to find highly trained practitioners who are well versed in this.” As for cost, I surveyed five acupuncture centers that offer the treatment in NYC, and was quoted between $100 and $150 for an initial appointment. It’s worth noting that you may need more than one treatment to get the effects you’re after, but Baran notes that some clients will feel results “in as little as one session.” She also notes that pricing can vary “based on region and the practitioner’s expertise,” so feel free to shop around—but don’t skimp on quality. An amateur could very well leave you with serious burns or bruises, so this is not the time to go for a discount option.

Now that cupping is less mysterious to me, I can’t say it’s less enticing. The logic of improved blood flow and circulation is hard to argue with, and I’ve had good experiences with acupuncture in the past—this seems like an intensified version. I’m certainly not in the “elite athlete” category, but maybe I’ll book a cupping session next time I can’t walk after Barry’s. If it’s good enough for Gwyneth…

Images: @16th_st_acu_nyc; @jimmiller_155 / Instagram

The Spice Girls Reunion News Is A Little Disappointing

If you’ve been paying any attention to fashion trends lately, you’ll know that everything ’90s is completely back in style. If Gigi and Bella are doing it, we all have to. For better or worse, it’s time to dig out the denim, and basically just dress like your mom did when you were a baby. Along with the clothes, it makes sense that ’90s music is making a comeback too. To me, that basically means one thing: SPICE. Yesterday, we finally got the details on the Spice Girls Reunion Tour, which the girls have been teasing for approximately seven million years.

Okay, so I’ll be honest, I’m a little disappointed. While any Spice Girls reunion moment is a blessed gift from the pop gods, I was hoping for a little more? The biggest problem here is obviously the lack of any dates in the United States, or literally anywhere outside the UK. I totally understand that the Spice Girls are a British group, and they have a ton of fans there, but what are us stateside ’90s babies supposed to do? (Yeah, I know we’re supposed to fly to London, but idk if that’s in my budget.) If you’re in the mood to hop across the pond next June, here are the dates, all six of them:

6/1 – Manchester

6/3 – Coventry

6/6 – Sunderland

6/8 – Edinburgh

6/10 – Bristol

6/15 – London

Tickets for all six dates go on sale this Saturday (11/10) at 10:30 AM UK time, which means us East-coasters will have to wake up at 5 AM if we want to get those tickets. Sorry ladies, but I’m probably not waking up for that. The cheapest tickets are 60 pounds, which is like $80, which is honestly not that bad.

But aside from the lack of American dates, there’s a second very disappointing piece of news we need to discuss. I’m sorry to be the one to break this bad news, but Victoria Beckham isn’t doing the tour. That’s right, Posh is out, so there will only be four Spices. Everyone kind of suspected this from the beginning, but it was confirmed when Victoria posted an Instagram basically congratulating them on their tour, pretending like she isn’t above the whole thing at this point. I know she’s a big fancy fashion designer, but it’s only six shows! Come on Victoria, you can let David handle the fashion stuff for two weeks!

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Today marks a special day for the girls as they announce the first tour dates since we performed together in 2012! I won't be joining my girls on stage again but being in the Spice Girls was a hugely important part of my life and I wish them so much love and fun as they go back on tour next year. I know they will put on an amazing show and the fantastic fans past and present are going to have a wonderful time! X vb #spicegirls #friendshipneverends

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So yeah, the tour announcement is a little bit disappointing, but I’m sure the shows will still be an amazing time. Let me know if you’re actually buying tickets, so that way I can make you FaceTime me in the entire time. Or at least for “Wannabe.” Aaaaand now I have to go listen to the entire Spice Girls catalog for the rest of the day, but this has been fun.

Images: Shutterstock; @victoriabeckham / Instagram

All Our Predictions For The Spice Girls’ Royal Wedding Performance

The royal wedding is less than three months away, and details are starting to fall into place about the special day. Earlier, we got a closer look at the itinerary for the special day, but today we got even better info: The Spice Girls are performing at the royal wedding.

Start crimping your hair and put on your shortest minidress, because this is a full-fledged pop culture emergency. We got early confirmation of the exciting news on Wednesday, when Mel B appeared on The Real (it’s a knockoff of The View) and spilled the beans. The ladies on the show first asked if Mel knew anyone going to the wedding, to which her response was basically like “bitch please I’M going to the wedding.” She revealed that all five Spice Girls got invitations, and the ladies put two and two together that this meant a performance was likely. Mel B acknowledged that this was correct, before adding that she would probably get fired for sharing the top-secret information.

With the wedding happening on May 19, this performance should serve as a good warmup before their alleged world tour this summer. Victoria Beckham says the tour isn’t happening, but I really need her to be wrong.

So now let’s discuss what this already iconic wedding performance will look like. As we reported previously, the wedding day will consist of a traditional ceremony, followed by a large reception, and then a private family party later in the evening. So there are lots of possibilities for what Posh, Scary, Sporty, Baby, and Ginger could be cooking up.

Honestly, there’s no reason that the Spice Girls, patron saints of girl groups everywhere, shouldn’t perform at the ceremony. They could wear sequined angel costumes (complete with wings, obvi), and sing pop arrangements of classic Anglican hymns. There wouldn’t be a dry eye in the house, and it would have nothing to do with Meghan Markle looking stunning.

More realistically, the Spice Girls will probably perform at the bigger reception. We’re hoping it’s a super legit setup with lasers, fog, and wind machines, and that they perform for a minimum of 45 minutes. Think Super Bowl halftime show, but with a bigger budget and more time. The world deserves this, so there will obviously be an HD livestream for all of us to enjoy. There is nothing about this that seems unreasonable to me.

That just leaves the smaller, private family event, and the Spice Girls would be a great choice for that as well. I’m thinking a chill acoustic setup, with just five stools and a guitarist, so that the artistry of each individual Spice Girl can really shine through. They’ll perform an hour-long set of some of their lesser-known hits, as well as covers of Adele songs. Hopefully the space will be really small, so Queen Elizabeth will be seated less than 10 feet from these five other British Queens. I also require that Ginger Spice wears her bedazzled Union Jack minidress, because patriotism.

So, that’s what the real itinerary should look like for the royal wedding Spice Girls reunion weekend extravaganza. Prince Harry and Meghan Markle can direct any questions to me, because I am now in charge of planning this whole thing. But really, the Spice Girls are performing, and we couldn’t be happier about it.

Images: Columbia Pictures; Giphy (3)

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