Boosting Fitness and Improving Sports Performance
Carlos Durana Ph.D., M.Ac. practices acupuncture in Washington D.C., Reston, Virginia, and in Bethesda, Maryland.
When Kobe Bryant tweets a picture of acupuncture needles in his leg, you know it’s time to consider how acupuncture and Oriental medicine can help improve your sports performance.
All athletes and coaches are involved in an ongoing search for ways to improve performance and gain a competitive edge over their rivals. Many are finding that acupuncture can often provide that edge.
From moving more fluidly to recovering from an injury, acupuncture and Oriental medicine can help you to stay active, boost your fitness level, and recover more quickly. By following the principles of Oriental medicine, an acupuncture treatment can strengthen body function and restore internal harmony and balance. Professional sports teams and top athletes often have an acupuncturist on staff to treat injuries and keep them performing at their peak.
Practitioners of Oriental medicine can help athletes, even the amateur “weekend warrior,” in many ways. In addition to acupuncture, tight, stiff muscles may be helped by manual techniques such as cupping, a suction-based massage, and Gua Sha, a Chinese form of friction massage.
In 2011, researchers at the University of Duisburg-Essen found that Gua Sha was effective at treating chronic pain and muscle stiffness in the lower back.
Here is an article that addresses the use of acupuncture in recovery:
Less Pain and a Faster Recovery?
By: Trina Lion L.Ac., Dipl.Ac.
Acupuncture is well known for its effectiveness in reducing most types of pain, including pain from sports-related injuries due to trauma or overuse syndromes involving the musculoskeletal system and its soft tissues. Trauma to these soft tissues, including ligaments, tendons and muscles are generally the result from falls, blows, sprains/strains, collisions, compressions, and disruptions of the healing process due to inflammation.
Due to its broad range of applications, acupuncture can be used during any of the phases of the injury healing process. Acupuncture and Oriental medicine may be used to help decrease swelling, spasms and inflammation, in addition to assisting in pain management, increasing range of motion and promoting healing. The focus is not only to treat the injury, but also to treat any underlying conditions that may predispose an individual to injuries.
This is especially important when treating chronic or recurrent injuries that interfere with life activities or athletic performance. Acupuncture helps reduce pain and enable activity for athletes experiencing Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome (PFPS), Plantar Fasciitis, ankle sprains, and soft tissue adhesions, according to the Acupuncture Research Resource Center (UK). In a study that covered a range of injuries and acupuncture techniques, researchers found that the underlying diagnostic principles of Oriental medicine could be useful for treating sports injuries.
Researchers at the University of Tokyo found that administering acupuncture above a healthy Achilles tendon led to increased blood flow and oxygen supply to the region, which indicates that this treatment could also help an injured tendon to heal. Furthermore, athletes with chronic rotator cuff tendinitis who received acupuncture experienced significantly less pain, according to a study from the University of Heidelberg.