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Acupuncture and Athletics

The goal of acupuncture is to bring an individual to a state of ease. A state of mental and physical clarity that leads to an overall state of well being. The symptoms of an individual’s ailments or disease are not simply treated or muted, but the root cause of the body’s imbalance is discovered, and the healing process begins there at the foundation. This outlook on correcting a problem goes hand in hand with the world of athletics and sports. If a track runner wants to be faster, he does not simply get new shoes. He works with coaches to correct his form and posture, he works with athletic trainers to correct injuries, and he focuses on nutrition to optimize his performance and open up his full potential in order to see results.

Athletes are becoming increasingly open to alternative therapies

Athletes are seeking alternative therapies outside of training and exercise in order to enhance their abilities. Mental health is being explored to increase focus and decrease anxieties, nutrition is becoming a staple in an elite athlete’s training regiment, and techniques such as acupuncture are being used to maintain balance between the mental, physical, and spiritual aspects of being an athlete. In fact, multiple studies have shown that after both immediate and prolonged treatment of acupuncture there is a statistically significant increase in muscular strength and firing speed. This could mean enhancing athletic performance naturally without harming their internal systems or violating any supplement or substance restrictions. Acupuncture has the potential be another tool in the arsenal of the elite athlete to separate themselves from their peers, and push them into a state of progression.

Everyone has experienced sore or tired muscles, but Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS) can be an athlete’s worse enemy. It can effect your performance at practice the following day, it can prevent you from doing certain activities that will cause muscle soreness before performance or game time, and, well, it can make simple things like climbing stairs or brushing your hair seem nearly impossible. There is little use in trying to prevent this phenomenon. Every time you exercise you are causing small microscopic damage to your tissues, which brings about small amounts of inflammation and even lactic acid. Plenty of potassium and protein following exercise as well as hydration throughout your day will decrease the intensity, but every athlete that pushes themselves harder, faster, and stronger will experience this throughout their career.

Another alternative for speeding up the recovery process has proven to be acupuncture

Research has shown a faster pain recovery for those who utilize acupuncture when they have DOMS and in some cases, an even quicker return to full muscle function than those that didn’t.

In closing, if you are an athlete at any level, acupuncture can do wonders for you physically by increasing muscle performance and decreasing residual soreness after an intense work out. It can also assist in providing harmony, balance and mental clarity. Look for future blogs discussing how acupuncture can decrease performance anxiety and increase mental clarity before sporting events!

Reference

Article: Ergogenic Effect of Acupuncture in Sport and Exercise: A Brief Review
Shahin Almedov – School of Physical Education and Sport, Near East University, Nicosia, Turkey

Guest authors’ work is reviewed and edited by Ben Townsend.

by Jackie Lauricella

Jackie is a certified and licensed athletic trainer in the states of North Carolina, South Carolina and Florida. She is a part of the Bare Essentials Sports Medicine team, while working toward her master’s degree in sport psychology. She most commonly works with athletes of all ages from amateur to professional, primarily in high intensity sports such as BMX, Motocross, Skateboarding, Taekwondo, Karate and Mixed Martial Arts. Athletic trainers prevent, evaluate, treat and rehabilitate orthopedic injuries, as well as provide emergency care at events and facilities. Jackie specializes in manual therapies and emergency care and encourages her athletes to focus on mental health, holistic remedies and nutrition to optimize their performance.

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