The Benefits of Acupuncture for Athletes
Are you an athlete who is in constant danger of an injury or pain? If so, Traditional Chinese Medicine or “TCM” may be the solution. TCM is a healing approach that originated in China thousands of years ago. Practitioners use herbs, diet, acupuncture, cupping, and qigong to prevent or treat health problems. Athletes all over the world are turning to sports acupuncture to help them avoid getting hurt and to promote recovery when an injury is sustained. Sports acupuncture is used to speed healing, relieve pain, and increase muscle strength and stamina.
How Does Sports Acupuncture Work?
Acupuncture helps the body to heal and balance itself by allowing energy to properly flow from the points along the meridians, the energy pathways defined by TCM. Energy needs to flow freely without blockages in order for the body to function at an optimal level. TCM has always closely been linked with sports, martial arts, and healing all things nature from nature. Sports acupuncture is becoming a recognized treatment for pulled tendons, torn ligaments, tight hamstrings, muscle/tendon strain, stiff neck and other ailments athletes may incur. Sport acupuncturists aim to bring the body back to balance by understanding the compensation patterns presenting with each sports-specific movement and injury. This allows them to help with injury prevention, optimal performance, and faster recovery.
Acupuncture: Alleviate Pain and Muscle Relief
Athletes put stress on their muscles when they perform, which often incurs injuries. Acupuncture can balance and reset the muscles by restoring their proper energy flow and tone so they can better communicate with the nervous system. Nitric oxide is created in the body when acupuncture points are activated. This causes blood vessels to open up in the arteries and increase the flow of blood to the hearts and organs, which improves blood circulation and cardiovascular well-being. Fatigue, inflammation, strain, tightness, and soreness are eased when blood flow is increased in the body.
Acupuncture can also be used to treat pain from sports-related injuries. It has been shown to clinically trigger the release of pain-relieving chemicals like endorphins, which act as a natural and rapid pain reliever with long-lasting effects. Treating the pain directly at the site of the pain can also decrease inflammation, boost the immune system, and increases one’s range of motion. Athletes often prefer acupuncture instead of pain medications due to their side effects.
Staying Focused and Stress Free
Athletes need to maintain optimal physical and mental condition. The pressures of competitive sports and constantly being in the public eye can lead to decreased self-esteem, a fear of losing, anxiety, and nervousness. Acupuncture can help control stress and anxiety, as it affects the part of your brain that regulates emotions, reducing stress naturally. According to TCM, energy flows through our body through a “highway system,” or meridian pathways. However, stress acts like a traffic jam, blocking the flow of energy throughout the body. When there is a roadblock, it generally affects other areas. Acupuncture works to ease stress by releasing endorphins, which are natural pain-killing chemicals in the brain.