CAIRO - The ancient treatment of cupping therapy, said to help blood circulation and relieve muscle tension, is attracting new converts since swimmer Michael Phelps hit the pool in the Rio Olympics with circular red marks on his back. The therapy dates back to ancient Egyptian, Chinese and Middle Eastern cultures. Body-builder Abdelrahman Ahmed was one of several people taking the treatment at a medical center in Shubra El-Kheima on the outskirts of Cairo. Glass cups are placed on the body to create suction. The method is said to draw out any toxins, improve blood flow, and soothe sore muscles.

Mohamed El-Sayed, a practitioner for more than five years, says his patients vary from elders with kidney failure to ordinary men with back spasms and women with menstrual cramps.