Acupuncture is a healing therapy that has developed and evolved over thousands of years. Generations of martial arts masters used this medicine to effectively and quickly treat injuries sustained during training or combat. Today, this traditional form of sports medicine has evolved into a comprehensive, holistic form of health care, which can not only relieve pain, decrease healing time, and resolve stubborn ailments, but also increase energy, stamina, and flexibility.
In the treatment of sports injuries, acupuncture works on two different levels. On one level, it works on the local area of injury by increasing blood circulation and attracting a healing response to the where the needles are placed. The local increase in blood circulation has the effect of reducing healing time and aiding in the dispersal of swelling and bruising. In addition, an increase in the number of white blood cells and biochemicals in the area speed up the healing rate of soft tissue as well as reduce pain.
Acupuncture also works on the whole body to treat sports injuries as well as increase performance. It causes the body's nervous system to release a variety of chemicals, including endorphins, serotonin, and neurotransmitters, which aid in the healing process by reducing pain and promoting relaxation. Additionally, the relaxation effects of acupuncture can reduce anxiety and help alleviate some of the mental barriers that athletes experience which might hinder performance.
Research increasingly shows that acupuncture is useful, both on its own and as a complement to other forms of treatment, such as physical and chiropractic therapy. In fact, more and more professional sports teams employ acupuncturists to help their athletes recover from their injuries quickly, prevent future injuries from occurring, and boost their performance.
Since the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, where Acupuncture was given to the athletes and officials in the Olympic Village, Acupuncture has become increasingly more popular in the United States. While it has been used for thousands of years and is a main source of healing for 1/3 of the population of the planet, Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine are relatively new to the Western world. One of the main areas of focus, at this time, seems to be on pain management and rehabilitation. This ancient medicine is a valuable tool in helping the modern athlete to overcome injuries (with minimal to no pain medications), support the body during training and to perform at peak levels during competitions.
A key component in training is recovery. Every serious athlete knows how important it is to rest between training sessions and competitions. Most acupuncture patients report getting their best night of sleep on the days they have acupuncture treatments. In general, those that come regularly claim to sleep deeper and feel more rested upon waking. A good nights sleep is imperative for rebuilding the muscle tissue and restoring energy. Acupuncture can play a vital role in an athletes training. Regular treatments can support the athlete’s body during training to help build muscle and promote liver glycogen storage.
Being able to go into a competition as injury free as possible is essential to an athlete. Using acupuncture during training to heal those aches, pains, strains and sprains can make all the difference between winning and losing. Also, the mental and emotion challenges of competition can easily change the results of an event. Beyond the grueling physical challenges of competition, an athlete must have inner strength and confidence to prevail. Acupuncture has the ability to lower stress and anxiety, keep the athlete focused and remove psychological obstacles, which may prevent them from attaining victory.
Acupuncture is used to help prevent injuries and aid the body in healing more quickly, which in turn can lead to the body performing at peak levels. Whether you’re a weekend athlete, Olympic athlete or somewhere in-between, acupuncture can help you achieve your goals. Use acupuncture to prevent injuries as well as heal them.