Kaley Cuoco Uses Painful Cupping and Scraping Therapies for Workout Recovery—Here's What That Means

She shared a video getting the therapies, and it does not look pleasant.

Kaley Cuoco goes hard at the gym. (If you don’t believe us, here’s a video to prove it.) But pushing your body to the max means recovery can be rough, and Cuoco seems to know that better than anyone.

The Big Bang Theory star recently shared a series of videos to her Instagram Story saying she felt “absolutely wrecked” and showing what she does to recover. The 33-year-old went for something called cupping and scraping (also called gua sha) therapies, and yes, they’re as painful as they sound.


Cupping, an ancient Eastern medicine practice, is used to treat many different types of ailments, from muscle soreness to arthritis. Heated glass cups are placed on the skin, and as the air trapped between the heated glass and the skin begins to cool, it creates suction against the skin. The sucking causes small blood vessels under the skin to break and a cup-shaped bruise to form. The idea is that it stimulates blood flow.

Here’s the catch: There’s not very much research to back up the benefits of cupping. But still, plenty of athletes swear by it.

Gua sha, on the other hand, originated as a bodywork treatment in Chinese medicine. It literally translates to "scraping,” and is done by, well, scraping a tool across the skin to apply pressure and stimulate circulation, usually causing slight bruising, Daniel Hsu, a Doctor of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (DAOM) in New York City, tells Health.

It originated as a technique to move energy, also called qi or chi, throughout the body. Some believe that pain or inflammation in muscles or joints can be a result of stagnant energy. Gua sha supposedly stimulates new blood flow and draws out stagnation to relieve aches or stiffness. Again, there’s limited research to prove its effectiveness.

Cuoco, however, seems to think it works wonders. She says Flory, her masseuse, is "an angel sent from heaven who helps my body because my hips and legs hurt 24/7." Nope, that’s not an exaggeration. "My legs hurt all the time,” she says. “ALL THE TIME."

She also explained why getting these treatments and making time for self-care is so important to her. "I go a few weeks and I end up not being able to walk," she said. "My body just starts to shut down from complete overuse. If I don't take care of it, I'm going to crumble. You've got to take care of yourself in order to be able to take care of the things around you."

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