Sports medicine acupuncture combines principles and practices of traditional Chinese Medicine with Western-based notions of sports medicine, including orthopedics, physiology, Trigger Points, and motor points. Bui on millennia of lessons about acupuncture points and treatments for specific conditions, sports medicine acupuncture incorporates more modern knowledge of the human body and dysfunctions that athletes commonly face.
Each sports medicine treatment is tailored to the individual, both in terms of the specific medical condition and the person’s needs and desires. If someone has a race soon after an appointment, the treatment will likely be different than if someone is in the middle of a training cycle. Because of the wide variety of techniques and modalities available to use, we can choose an appropriate treatment for each unique situation.
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It is worth noting that acupuncture has been used for millennia to treat Soldiers, martial artists and other types of people involved in extreme types of physical activity. Acupuncture is a broad term that denotes a general system of medicine aimed at a wide variety of ailments, including those that plague athletes.
While acupuncture’s exact mechanisms of action are still not yet fully understood, research is continually providing more insight into possible ways in which acupuncture works. Several of these findings are particularly relevant to athletes. Specifically, acupuncture has been shown to:
- Increase blood circulation to injured tissues, which promotes faster recovery
- Release trigger points to ease the cascade of symptoms caused by tight and stuck fascia
- Stimulate motor points, which can help with muscle dysfunction and muscular imbalances
- Trigger the release of endorphins, our body’s natural painkillers
- Decrease sympathetic nervous system activity and balance the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems to allow you to rest, digest and repair more effectively
- Reduce both local and systemic inflammation
- Decrease fatigue and increase resistance to fatigue
- Treat insomnia, both difficulty falling asleep and difficulty staying asleep
- Reduce stress and anxiety, possibly by blocking the chronic stress-related release of certain hormones and neurotransmitters
Some of the many sports-related conditions acupuncture can treat include:
- Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome (Runner’s Knee)
- Ilio-Tibial Band Syndrome
- Achilles Tendonitis
- TIbial Stress Syndrome (Shin Splints)
- Hamstring Strains
- Low Back Pain
- SI Joint Dysfunction
- Glute medius/minimus dysfunction
- A/C Joint Dysfunction
- Lateral Epicondylitis (Tennis Elbow)
- Thoracic Outlet Syndrome
- Gastrointestinal disturbances
- Fatigue/Low Energy
- Stress and Anxiety
- Post-surgery recovery
For conditions that do not involve soft tissue or that involve severe tears and strains (e.g. meniscus tears, ACL/MCL tears, severe ligament and tendon strains), acupuncture may help with symptoms and overall strength for recovery. However, acupuncture cannot heal bone, cartilage or other inert tissue injuries or severe tears and strains. In these cases, we recommend concurrent treatment by a Western medicine specialist. We are happy to coordinate treatment with your doctor when appropriate.