FARGO, N.D. -

The Olympics has put the spotlight on a physical therapy technique.

This after athletes were seen with large bruise–like marks on their skin.

The technique is called cupping, it finds it roots in ancient China or Egypt depending on who you ask.

It's actually pretty popular in the Red River Valley.

Though the post–cupping symptoms often appear jarring to the average onlooker, the treatment is to help athletes recover after straining themselves.

Cupping has been used by NDSU trainers on athletes for the last three years.

"So what cupping does is it comes in and allows a little bit of a pulling apart it sucks in blood into the area and also lifts the tissue and opens up space," says Stephanie Hamersky an Assistant Athletic Trainer at NDSU.

The suction is usually created by burning a flame beneath the cup before placing it on the skin.

The bruises people see are from burst capillaries caused by the suction.

The broken capillaries cause the body to respond to the afflicted area and treat it as a wound which, in theory, causes the muscle to heal.

Massage Therapist Adriane Maag says almost half of the patients she sees receive cupping treatments.

"Most often times it is with athletes but it can help for anyone who's been laboring or construction, overhead lifting, cross fit athletes," says Maag.

Even though the treatment has been around for about 2,000 years, there haven't been very many studies backing up the benefits.

Still many people suffering from muscle pain and athletes swear by it.

"Lots of people report back saying they are able to move a lot easier they sleep a lot better that night and overall increase health and wellness," says Maag.

If cupping seems like something you'd like to try out most massage therapists are trained to do it so it shouldn't be difficult to find a local professional.