6 ways acupuncture helps athletes
- PAIN RELIEF: Acupuncture is well known for its powerful ability to reduce and often eliminate pain. This is a huge attraction for athletes who are plagued by strain and injury. Using acupuncture to relieve pain, the athletes never have to worry about experiencing side effects from pharmaceutical drugs or failing a drug test. How does acupuncture alleviate pain?
There are several studies which have shown that when needles are inserted, they stimulate points that boost our natural painkillers. In one study, researchers at the University of Michigan (published by University of Michigan Health System in Journal of NeuroImage, Vol. 5, No. 83, 2009) found acupuncture affected the brain’s long-term ability to regulate pain.
- MUSCLE RELAXATION: Athletes train for thousands of hours, punishing their bodies. Acupuncture reduces soreness from workouts and increases blood flow throughout the body. This helps athletes get ready for another day by relaxing their tight muscles and reducing inflammation.
- FAST HEALING: When an athlete has to skip training or miss a competition, precious time is lost. Acupuncture helps injuries to heal faster so athletes do not miss valuable training time.
- ENERGY ENHANCEMENT AND BETTER SLEEP: Acupuncture boosts athletes’ energy when they are awake and helps them to sleep at night. The body repairs itself at night so sleeping well is vital to a good performance.
- IMPROVED BLOOD FLOW: Acupuncture improves tissue bloodflow, oxygenation, and removal of metabolic wastes and toxins. A study from UCLA Medical Center concludes that one reason acupuncture is effective is because the needles increase the release of nitric oxide throughout the body. Nitric Oxide causes the blood vessels to relax and to widen, thereby opening up the arteries. This allows better blood flow to the heart and your other important organs.
- MEDICATION: Unlike prescription and over the counter pain medications, acupuncture lacks potential adverse side effects for your internal organs. Your medications or supplements will not adversely interact with acupuncture treatment; therefore it can safely be used to treat a variety of illnesses.
Shortly after its arrival in the West, Acupuncture’s ability to successfully treat a number of disease processes and provide relief from pain lead to an emergence from its 5,000 year old roots to its current status as one of the most rapidly growing areas of contemporary healthcare. Results obtained by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) research revealed that acupuncture effectively treated numerous conditions while being virtually free from harmful side effects.
During the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, Acupuncture was given to athletes and officials in the Olympic Village. With the remarkable results it provided, Acupuncture entered the World Athletic stage. Since then, its use by athletes demanding the edge that allows access to peak performance has increased exponentially across athletic endeavour throughout the world. Main areas in which Acupuncture has been demonstrated to be of significant benefit include pain management, accelerated tissue repair and injury rehabilitation, augmented immune function, deeper sleep, increased energy by promoting liver glycogen storage and reduced stress and anxiety, removing psychological obstacles to victory.
Using pain free, disposable needles, thinner than a hair, Acupuncture’s ability to facilitate natural performance enhancement, injury recovery and pain relief results from increased endorphin, prostaglandin and histamine production. Stimulation of acupoints expedites the healing process by reducing inflammation and improving systemic and targeted blood supply, allowing athletes to more rapidly overcome injuries and build muscle instead of taking drugs which mask injury, often worsening damage and creating chronic injury. Acupuncture in addition boosts immune function and circulation, supporting the body during training and enhancing performance during competition. In particular, the response has been overwhelmingly positive to acupuncture for tendon and ligament sprains. Using acupuncture during training and before performance to rapidly heal aches, pains, strains and sprains can make all the difference between winning and losing.
Acupuncture has been shown to dramatically speed recovery from injury, reduce stress, increase performance-endurance, agility and power and to prevent injury.