Whether you are a professional athlete, a weekend warrior or somewhere in between, Acupuncture can help with your rebound time or recovery time from working out and help with those nagging injuries that often occur. Athletes of all kinds can benefit. Acupuncture is now well-known for treatment of musculo-skeletal injuries that commonly occurs as an active person who works out and/or plays sports. I have often treated patients with sore knees, tennis elbow, golfers’ elbow, golfers’ low back pain, swimmers’ shoulder problems, over strained and over stretched muscle pain from track and field sports, inflammation of any joint in the body, groin pulls, muscle fatigue, headaches and bruising from contact sports such as soccer, lacrosse and football.
Many Acupuncturists are also licensed Massage Therapist. This is a very powerful combination of treatments and they complement each other well. It’s body work. Most often I will massage out a muscle group first with a liniment or pain-relieving oil and then apply the Acupuncture to decompress the tight muscle area to relieve a muscle spasm. Heat is most often used in sub-acute and chronic injuries. Cold packs will only be used if the injury is acute within a 36-hour period or if the patient just “feels better with ice”. Sometimes patients just break all the rules when it comes to the type of treatment protocol we use. Whatever works is my motto.
Recovery time is important for anyone who has had that achy feeling after a good work out. Acupuncture and Massage help to move out the stagnant blood and metabolic waist such as lactic acid build up that can be quite uncomfortable. When the older blood is removed this makes room for fresh oxygenated blood which helps to repair muscle tissue much quicker. Cupping which is also used by bodyworkers can also help with a quicker recovery time. Thank you, Michael Phelps, a 23-time gold medal winner, from the Olympic games for bringing this modality of treatment into the public eye. Moxibustion, which is the use of an herbal heat treatment is also another great technique that Acupuncturist are trained in. The moxibustion (mugwort) helps to reduce inflammation very quickly and creates a speedy recovery for black and blues.
To take some of the mystery out of Acupuncture, I wanted to briefly discuss three basic ways how Acupuncture works. First, the needle goes into the muscle and “pops it” or depressurizes the muscle. Secondly, the needles go into the muscle and the muscle says, “invader, invader” and brings healing attention to the area. The white blood cells come rushing into the area to eat the needle, but it cannot, so the white blood cells “cart-out” metabolic waist product that is laying on nerve endings that is producing more inflammation that is creating pain. When the waist product is removed, inflammation is reduced and then there is pain relief. Thirdly, the needle is inserted in a remote area on the body that can heal issues along the corresponding energy pathway. This approach is great for people who cannot be touched near the sight of pain because the pain is too unbearable.
While Spring is upon us and Summer quickly approaching, outside sporting activities are abundant. Please be sure to include Acupuncture and Massage Therapy into your maintenance, recovery and rehabilitation healthcare. Be sure to only use a licensed healthcare practitioner for any of the disciplines mentioned in this article.