ESPN.’ back looked as though he had an exaggerated case of hives Thursday, reports
Large, red circular blotches littered Thomas' upper back and shoulders. What lingered was the remnants of a “cupping” treatment thetackle underwent this week for the first time in his 11-year career.
Cupping is a technique from ancient Chinese medicine that involves placing cups on the skin with suction. It is used to help with pain, inflammation and blood flow, and can be a type of deep-tissue massage.
Michael Phelps and other Olympians at the 2016 Games also used the technique.
Thomas, a potential future Hall of Famer, has earned Pro Bowl honors in each of his 11 NFL season. In nine of those seasons he reached All-Pro status as well.
Per WebMD, a therapist at one time would place herbs, alcohol or water in a cup and light it. When the flame goes out, the cup is placed on the skin. As the cup cools, it creates a vacuum, which causes the skin to redden and blood vessels to expand. The cup is left in place for up to three minutes.
Thomas had the treatment on his upper back, with one cup placed on his arm. He said that his back and shoulders take the brunt of his physical punishment during games, but that after the treatment he noticed a difference in his flexibility, noted ESPN.
“It feels better than it did before, for sure,” said Thomas, who did not practice Wednesday and Thursday this week in hopes of helping keep him on the field all season. Thomas first heard about the treatment during a presentation Wednesday and jumped at the chance to try it.
Thomas has not missed a snap since he was drafted third overall in 2007, a streak of 10,325 in a row. The more Thomas talks, the clearer it becomes just how difficult a process he goes through to be on the field every week.