We know age ain’t nothing but a number and Madonna is proof. When she’s not busy twinning with her teenage daughter Lourdes or posting throwback Christmas pics with her son Rocco, the 57-year-old legend can be found performing on her 10th worldwide tour for her album Rebel Heart. The tour has 81 total shows, and girlfriend is about halfway through it — a schedule that would exhaust even the spriteliest teen in the world. The fact that Madge is nearly 60 and totally unstoppable is even more commendable — and she might have some ancient alternative medicine treatments to thank.


The singer recently posted a pic on her Instagram of her back with crazy looking suction cups and needles all over, but it’s much less terrifying than it looks. She wrote in the caption, “Take me with all of my beautiful scars. I love you the way that you are.” Okay, so she has a flair for the dramatics, but don’t worry. There won’t be any scars here.

The needles are for acupuncture which is pretty common practice in the western world as far as alternative medicines go. Those suction cups, however, or a little less often encountered around these parts. It’s called cupping therapy and it’s an ancient method of detoxing that dates back to Egypt, the Middle East and Asia. Along with acupuncture, cupping is commonly used in Traditional Chinese Medicine to help diagnose and cure a multitude of ailments.

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The cups can be made from a variety of materials like bamboo, clay, glass or even plastic. Traditionally, the cups are heated before being placed along the back, and as the air within the cup cools, it creates a vacuum that then suctions up the skin. Nowadays, it’s more common that these cups feature a pump that allows the practitioner to pull the air out of the cups, thereby puckering up the skin underneath. There’s both dry cupping, like Madonna’s, or wet cupping, where the practitioner will make tiny incisions the depth of an accidental shaving cut so that you actually bleed a little. Trust us when we say that one is much scarier to gaze upon. And if it’s done right, cupping shouldn’t be painful, but it can leave some pretty terrifying looking marks.

The reason why people use cupping all over the world is because users believe it draws the toxins that lay stagnant in your body out from your skin. The belief is the more toxins being drawn out, the darker the mark it leaves behind. While the marks may look purplish or even black like bruising, it shouldn’t hurt like a bruise. The worse the coloring, however, the longer it will take to fade. If you feel like trying this yourself, definitely give yourself about 2-3 weeks before any social events where you’ll be baring your back.

And if you don’t know, now you know.

Have you ever tried cupping or acupuncture? Tweet us @BritandCo!

(Photos via Ethan Miller/Getty + @madonna)