Athletes undergo a variety of remedies to stay in top shape. From the chiropractor to yoga, to sitting on a heating pad or using a roller. But there is another, often forgotten, a technique that can help athletes: acupuncture.
Acupuncture is quickly becoming the sought after treatment for things like tennis elbow, pulled tendons, tendonitis, golfer’s shoulder, muscle tightness, and strains.
But this ancient Chinese medicine tactic can offer more than just injury recovery, acupuncture offers a pain-free way athletes can improve performance, increase endurance, speed up muscle recovery, and reduce pain.
Speed Up Muscle Recovery
To speed up muscle recovery in athletes, the blood vessels need to open and an increase in blood flow must happen. When acupuncture needles are placed along various activation points on the body, it forces the body to create nitric oxide, causing blood vessels to open and blood to flow more easily through the body.
Leaving one with improved blood circulation, reducing inflammation, tightness, and soreness in the muscles.
There have been hundreds of studies on acupuncture and pain, and all of them point to acupuncture leading to a significant reduction in pain. And this applies to athletes pain.
Those tiny little hair-like needles, when inserted into your skin, cause your body to release endorphins, block the brain’s pain receptors, and increase your blood flow. When acupuncture needles are placed on specific pressure points your body uses it’s natural hormones and endorphins to prevent pain from flowing.
This allows athletes a prescription-free pain management system. According to The World Health Organization, “Acupuncture’s effective rate in the treatment of chronic pain is comparable with that of morphine.”
With continued sessions, acupuncture stops becoming a pain management tool and becomes a pain prevention tool. Acupuncture prevents injury by promoting neurological and cardiovascular balance, which supports homeostasis in the body.
The increase in blood flow from acupuncture helps with more than pain. It helps with mental clarity and allows an athlete to tap into a new level of performance.
The nature of acupuncture, and Traditional Chinese Medicine as a whole, looks at health from a holistic approach. This means a practitioner will take a multitude of factors into consideration before proceeding with a treatment course. These factors include:
- Chronic issues
- Diet and Digestion
- Lifestyle considerations
By looking at more than just one aspect of an athlete’s life, an acupuncturist can devise an entire program to keep an athlete in the best shape, mentally, physically, and emotionally as possible.
Part of improving performance is improving healing time after a big event. Acupuncture is quickly becoming an important aspect of recovery for many athletes.
Getting Started with Sports Acupuncture
If you, or an athlete you know, is considering adding acupuncture to their routine, the best advice is don’t wait. Many make the mistake of waiting until they are injured before seeking out a plan.
But getting started with acupuncture now, while healthy, can help mitigate future injuries.