· Every sport and athletic endeavor pushes the human body to its limits, increasing the chance for injury. The most common injuries suffered by athletes are over-use injuries. These types of injuries don’t happen overnight, but occur slowly over time. Many athletes are unaware that the injury is occurring until it gets severe enough to cause pain and visible damage. Many of the injuries involve the connective tissues of our bodies. These tissues include tendons, ligaments, and vertebral disks. These connective tissues, also called fascia, have less blood and fluid supply than other tissues such as muscle and bone. Acupuncture can effectively open the microvacules, the functional unit of connective tissuei, and promote healing and reduction of inflammation.
4. Immune support
· Any athlete knows that there is nothing worse than having to take a break in training due to a pesky cold. Training and playing hard uses a lot of the body’s resources that would otherwise be used to fight off seasonal germs that cause the cold and flu. Many athletes train rain or shine, and being exposed to adverse weather conditions can further compromise the bodies immune system. Getting regular acupuncture has been proven to improve immunity to seasonal bugs, and keep athletes training and playing strong all year round.
5. Increased performance during workouts and competitions
· Acupuncture can help muscles to fire properly by increasing proper blood flow to the muscles, and activating the muscles motor points. Pre-performance needling has been used on athletes for thousands of years. By activating muscles with a quick treatment, the neuromuscular junction is primed, and the body’s nervous system is focused on the muscles that need to be performing at peak levels. It is not uncommon for athletes to use auricular tacks throughout their performance. The tacks are strategically placed on the ears of the athletes to increase neuro-muscular function during competition. Alan Houston of the New York Knicks sparked plenty of skepticism when he announced he was using acupuncture to recover from an ankle injury. Not only did he heal well, but also he started playing better. He made acupuncture a regular part of his training regiment.
6. Quickly return to training post injury / post surgery
· Professional athlete or not, an injury or surgery can put quite a damper on activity levels. Those who seek out acupuncture after an injury will not only heal faster but heal more effectively and have reduced chances of re-injury, and less of a chance of incurring a new injury due to overcompensation. As described so many times in this article, acupuncture increases blood and fluids to the body’s tissues. This brings the necessary nutrients that tissues need to heal. It also helps clean out old and dead tissues that can get in the way of healing. Scar tissue is an often-overlooked culprit of delayed healing and post surgical pain. Scar tissue is less juicy and flexible that the original tissue that it is repairing. It often lays its fibers in a haphazard fashion, which can interrupt the smooth flow of function. The good news about scar tissue, is that is continuously re-lays itself. Acupuncture has been shown to influence scar tissue to lay in an organized pattern, which reduces pain and improves healing. Ray Emery of the Chicago Blackhawks used acupuncture to help him recover successfully after hip surgery in 2010.
7. Stress relief and improved sleep