It turns out that the Chinese swimmer used an ancient treatment to try and take away some pain before the Beijing Games begin.
Fire Cupping as it's defined by wikipedia, seems like a very in-depth procedure:
Fire cupping is a method of applying acupressure by creating a vacuum next to the patient's skin. In traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) it involves placing glass, plastic, or bamboo cups on the skin with a vacuum. The therapy is used to relieve what is called "stagnation" in TCM terms, and is used in the treatment of respiratory diseases such as the common cold, pneumonia, and bronchitis. Cupping is also used to treat back, neck, shoulder, and other musculoskeletal pain.
As the Daily Mail article points out, the treatment is by no means unknown; celebrities like Gwyneth Paltrow have used it in recent years.
Now I have no way of knowing how much better or worse this swimmer feels after her treatment, but unless this was the only way I would have been able to compete in the Olympics, I wouldn't have had such a dramatic procedure performed on my body, just days before the biggest competition of my life.
Even in the picture she looks embarrassed, trying to cover up the welts with her hands.
I hope for her sake that she performs well, but I have a feeling that Wang will forever be remembered as "the swimmer with the spots on her back."
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