• Mon, Apr 28 - 10:15 am ET

Victoria’s Secret Angel Hilary Rhoda’s Latest Topless Photo Will Scare You Away From Cupping Forever

Victoria's Secret Angel Hilary Rhoda's Latest Instagram Will Scare You Away From Cupping Forever

Photo: Andrew H. Walker/Getty Images

Sometimes I think to myself, Should I try cupping? and then I see photos like Hilary Rhoda‘s recent Instagram and begin to think again. In fact, I don’t think I ever want to try cupping. Not ever–seriously, her picture is that stressful.

Rewind: So, cupping is an ancient technique that has been treated as a sort of fad since celebrities began going cupping-crazy not too long ago. Here’s a description of the process according to Pacific College:

Cupping is the term applied to a technique that uses small glass cups or bamboo jars as suction devices that are placed on the skin. There are several ways that a practitioner can create the suction in the cups. One method involves swabbing rubbing alcohol onto the bottom of the cup, then lighting it and putting the cup immediately against the skin. Suction can also be created by placing an inverted cup over a small flame, or by using an alcohol-soaked cotton pad over an insulating material (like leather) to protect the skin, then lighting the pad and placing an empty cup over the flame to extinguish it. …

Once the suction has occurred, the cups can be gently moved across the skin. … The suction in the cups causes the skin and superficial muscle layer to be lightly drawn into the cup. Cupping is much like the inverse of massage – rather than applying pressure to muscles, it uses gentle pressure to pull them upward. … Once suctioned, the cups are generally left in place for about ten minutes while the patient relaxes.

It is supposed to help with ailments like chronic pain, stress, and stiffness, among other things, which leads me back to Hilary Rhoda’s photo. The model captioned her Instagram shot “The cure to this chronic back/neck pain?! Please let it be! #cupping #acupuncture #massage.”

Hopefully it truly does help, because here were the results:

Victoria's Secret Angel Hilary Rhoda's Latest Instagram Will Scare You Away From Cupping Forever

Photo: Instagram

Yeah. Not fun, not in the slightest. I think I will stick to my thoroughly relaxing massages, thanks.

We all know that “beauty is pain”–except it really doesn’t have to be–because procedures exist like the vampire facelifts and Brazilian waxes. Plucking hurts. Shaving is annoying (and occasionally painful). I mean, cupping obviously has a different purpose than any of those despite often being done by spas that also offer those types of services, but the aftermath is still awful: bloody, bruised and really, really great material for Instagram. I do wish Hilary and her back the best, though, because this is 50 shades of stressful to even look at.

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  • Kaitlin Reilly

    Ahh, so scary. Hopefully it works?!

  • Lindsey Conklin

    omg. why would anyone subject themselves to that? that picture is horrifying

  • Alec Barbour

    So, it looks like it leaves, basically, a very severe hickey? That makes a disturbing kind of sense… No thanks

  • http://www.hilarykirwan.com hilaryk

    I was “cupped” in China on the principle of “When in Rome.” I was terrified before the procedure, but it was actually really relaxing! I doubt there were any health benefits, but it oddly felt really good. My back had aggressive polka dots on it, but it didn’t look nearly as bruised as Hilary Rhoda’s back. Mine looked similar to this guy’s photo: http://themerryrunner.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/Cupping_results.jpg

  • esprit-follet

    It actually doesn’t hurt everyone. It depends on your body/body type. My mom had it done pretty regularly, dark dark bruises but it didn’t hurt her and she actually felt better. I had it done, it wasn’t for me. You have to go to someone who knows what they’re doing, though. The darker the bruises, the worse off your circulation is or something. It might be a celebrity fad right now, but it’s also a medical practice that has been practiced for thousands of years.

    • Samantha Escobar

      I have fibromyalgia so I generally assume most things will hurt, ha. Perhaps I shall try it someday, though!

  • kgone1

    I get cupped all the time during my massages. It doesn’t hurt — if it does, the practitioner is not doing it right. I get bruises too — the process pulls blood and toxins up to the surface (seriously — my massage therapist can tell when I’ve had a cigarette), which can result in horrible looking marks. It helps my back and neck pain tremendously, so don’t knock it til you’ve tried it.

    • Samantha Escobar

      Wow, that’s wild! Thanks for the info. I usually go to a massage therapist for my fibromyalgia and that’s pretty helpful, though I’ve occasionally contemplated trying something else like acupuncture. I’m just not sure I would feel great about the post-cupping marks.

  • tempura-san

    Actually, it looks like she had scraping done, not cupping. Scraping – which is as horrifying as it sounds! – is when they take a wooden implement (that looks like a shoehorn) and scrape the sh*t out of your back and arms. It’s usually done in conjunction with cupping, so maybe she’s had both done but the scraping is just standing out more.

    I totally love cupping and I first had it done a couple weeks after I slipped a disc (I live in Asia so it’s easy enough to come across at just a regular ol’ massage place) a few years ago. It’s just the right combination of warmth and pressure and it relaxed a lot of the tension in my back. I’ve done it subsequently as a way to loosen up when the disc acts up.

    The TCM belief is that cupping unblocks your chi or something similar and that you should go for repeat visits until those purple-black bruises fade – which is a sign that your circulation has improved. I’ve never gone for more than 2 successive sessions, so I don’t know if going for 8-10 would make a massive difference in the bruising.

    Now, I’m not going to argue the merits of Traditional Chinese Medicine versus Western Medicine (although I’m usually firmly in the camp of the latter), but I do believe that cupping has promoted better circulation in my back and, as a result, promoted healing in the area. I’m also totally open to being called crazy!

  • FemelleChevalier

    My uncle used to do this all the time at his house when I was young. It was fascinating to watch: his wife would lit a couple of small candles and top it off with a couple of ordinary drinking glasses. It will only result in weird dark circles in his back that eventually faded away (I don’t know what happened in that pic).

    If you think about it, it’s not that crazy. Diathermy, ultrasound, HMP, etcetera all employ heat and are used for things like chronic pain – combined with either massage or TENS.