Author: Kim Stephens M.S. Dipl. Ac, Nationally Certified Acupuncturist    Published: Thu, 03 Nov, 2016

Acupuncture is one form of Chinese Medicine dating back 3,000 years. This ancient practice has survived and thrived in the 21st century because it is safe and effective. Acupuncture involves inserting hair-thin disposable needles along areas of the body to heal and restore balance to mind, body and spirit. It effectively treats a variety of health conditions and is utilized in hospitals and clinics world wide as part of an integrative approach to health. Acupuncture can be used successfully for the treatment of sports injuries and sports performance enhancement.

Ancient Chinese texts describe how Chinese warriors and soldiers used acupuncture to improve their stamina and endurance. Today, many professional athletes (Aaron Rodgers, for one) and Olympic athletes are still benefiting from acupuncture as part of their training program.

How can acupuncture be used as part of a Sports Medicine Program?

Acupuncture is mediated through the nervous and musculoskeletal systems. Acupuncture points are often found at specific points along the body. They are located near the nerve-rich areas of tendons and their attachment to bones. Some points are located at motor points, where the nerve innervates the muscle. “Ashi” points or trigger points are located at tender or painful areas in the muscle. When these acupuncture points are needled and stimulated, a sensory nerve signal is sent to the brain releasing endorphins and other opiate peptides. These chemicals in our bodies are natural pain killers and “feel good chemicals”. When an acupuncture needle is inserted near an injured area or area of inflammation it increases microcirculation in the area. This enhanced blood flow to the tissues that are injured, aids in the healing and recovery process—often resulting in a faster recovery.

When acupuncture is used as part of a training program, it can help reduce the occurrence of injuries. Treatments can be focused on improved muscle, tendon and joint health and benefit the athlete greatly. Acupuncture has been shown to increase white blood cells to boost the immune system and improve organ function. Keeping the body healthy during training season is an added benefit to any athlete.

The stress of life, competition or recovery from an injury can negatively affect us in many ways. Acupuncture activates the parasympathetic nervous system to aid in reducing stress and anxiety. This helps improve our vitality, stamina and overall health.

Acupuncture benefits individuals of any age and can easily be integrated into a training program or weekly schedule. It aids in improving and maintaining the health and vitality of the entire body and facilitates the healing of injuries for a more complete recovery. This practice is safe and effective and there are virtually no negative side-effects. It can be used alone, but is even more effective when used in concert with other integrative therapies depending on the nature of the injury.