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RIO DE JANEIRO -- Michael Phelps woke up on the morning of the first race of his fifth Olympic Games with some soreness in his right shoulder. Cheap Andre Roberts Jersey .At 31 years old, the swimming superstar could not afford to have anything slowing him down. So he went to a Team USA athletic trainer for some cupping therapy, a treatment he has been receiving for years to help relax his muscles and ease soreness.The trainer hit me pretty hard with one and left a couple of bruises, Phelps said.With large purple circles dotting his shoulder and back, Phelps delivered a performance for the ages to lead the 4x100-meter freestyle relay team to victory, giving him his 19th career gold medal. Phelps swam the fastest 100 meters of his life, a blazing 47.12 seconds on the second leg of the relay that turned a slim deficit in the race against France into a comfortable lead that teammates Ryan Held and Nathan Adrian were able to hold the rest of the way.The stirring victory -- televised in prime time back home in the United States -- put Phelps back on the podium and thrust cupping therapy into the spotlight. It dates back centuries and has enjoyed a bit of a renaissance over the past decade after athletes like Phelps and NFL star DeMarcus Ware and actresses Gwyneth Paltrow and Jennifer Aniston started touting its benefits.Researchers have traced cuppings origins back to China and Greece somewhere around 1500 B.C., and Team USA gymnast Alex Naddour was among other Olympians who have been seen with the purple marks in Rio. And its not just for star athletes. Health spas often offer the service for a few hundred dollars and the cups can be purchased online for as little as $15 and applied at home.Some in the medical community believe its nothing but hocus pocus, the latest form of snake oil that tricks patients into paying for it again and again. Others insist that it aids recovery, relaxes muscles and helps an athlete maximize performance.Phelps certainly believes in it. In the end, that may be all that matters.Ive done it before meets at pretty much every meet I go to, he said.The treatment involves applying glass or plastic cups to the area of discomfort and either applying heat or suction to create a vacuum. The suction pulls the skin away from the muscle and draws oxygenated blood to the area. The suction also is what causes the bruising, like giant hickey without the fun that comes with it.I havent had bad ones like this in in a while, Phelps said on Sunday, a day after the relay.Steve Hamilton, a massage therapist for the Denver Broncos, has used the technique for years in working with players. He said the biggest benefits include increased circulation, decreased muscle tension, decreased inflammation, increased range of motion and improved blood flow.Its effectiveness is because its all part of the bodys natural healing process, Hamilton said. But cupping helps the body recover faster by keeping the process moving forward. Its awesome because its all natural.But there is a scarcity of accredited studies to prove cuppings efficacy, which has led to a fair amount of skepticism. Many doctors have called it nonsense, and others believe it is no more effective than a placebo.Russian state TV, after watching more than 100 of its athletes become embroiled in a doping investigation that excluded them from the Rio Games, took a dig at Phelps when it branded cupping as-yet legal doping in a lengthy feature on the treatment.Hamilton said cupping is no such thing.It helps enhance the bodys natural neurological and circulatory function, thus allowing the body to be pushed and perform at a higher competitive level, he said.Phelps even included the process, which can be painful, in a commercial he did for Under Armour on the rigorous training he puts his body through to get ready to compete. When he is competing in an event where victory is measured in fractions of a second, any little edge could make the difference.If he feels like he feels better, Hamilton said, thats never a bad thing.---(equals)AP National Writer Paul Newberry and AP Sports Writers Arnie Stapleton and James Ellingworth contributed to this report. Cheap Justin Hardy Jersey . It says Pocklingtons lawyer filed the appeal Friday in a California court. CTV Edmonton also says Pocklington gave a $100,000 cash deposit as part of the conditions of his bail, and that he will be out on bail until his appeal is heard. Cheap Mohamed Sanu Sr Jersey . The 29-year-old from Port Colborne, Ont., has nothing but good things to say about former U.S. marine Liz (Girlrilla) Carmouche ahead of their co-main event Wednesday on the UFCs "Fight for the Troops" televised card in Fort Campbell, Ky. . On Saturday night, the normally free throw-challenged centre did just that. Howard scored 18 of his 25 points in the fourth quarter, including 13 of 19 free throws in a 2 1/2-minute stretch, and the Houston Rockets beat the Denver Nuggets 122-111.Cameron Bancroft and Tom Curran have been reprimanded by the ECBs Cricket Discipline Commission for acts of dissent during recent County Championship matches. Australian batsman Bancroft was reported by umpires Michael Gough and Jeff Evans during Gloucestershires County Championship Division Two ten-wicket defeat against Essex on April 10-13 for a level one breach of the code (showing dissent at an umpires decision by word or action). Tom Curran has been reprimanded for actions during Surryes defeat to Nottinghamshire South Africa-born Curran, who won the Cricket Writers Club Young Player of the Year award last season, was reported by umpires David Millns and Tim Robinson during Surreys defeat by three wickets to Nottinghamshire the same week for a similar offence. Cheap Atlanta Falcons Jerseys. The penalty for these offences is a reprimand which will remain on their records for two years.The accumulation of nine or more penalty points in any two-year period will result in an automatic suspension. Also See: County ins and outs CC Division One preview CC Division Two preview Pundits county picks Cheap NFL Jerseys Cheap NFL Jerseys China Cheap Jerseys From China Cheap NFL Jerseys Authentic Wholesale Jerseys China Cheap NFL Jerseys China NFL Cheap Jerseys ' ' ' 
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