About Lynn

lynn jaffeeLynn Jaffee is a licensed acupuncturist and the author of the book, Simple Steps: The Chinese Way to Better Health, a clear and concise explanation of Chinese medicine for the lay person. She is co-author of the book, The BodyWise Woman, a personal health manual for physically active women and girls. Read more about Lynn...

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The Role of Acupuncture in Sports Injuries and Athletic Performance

I just love guest bloggers!  Today’s post is written by Sharon Sherman, a fellow acupuncturist from  Pennsylvania.  Her clinic is Empirical Point, and she has offices in Mt. Airy and Center City Philiadelphia.  Check out Sharon’s blog–it has really good information on research, what acupuncture can treat, and lots of other good stuff! 

Here’s Sharon’s post:

With the nicer weather allowing for more outdoor activities, it’s time to talk about sports injuries.  Sports injuries are most often caused by trauma (from a fall or blow) or overuse/misuse of certain muscles and the neighboring structures, including ligaments and tendons.  The acupuncturist commonly sees sports injuries such as pulled muscles, strains, sprains, shin splints, Achilles tendonitis and various manifestations of inflammation and pain that can keep the injured athlete out of the game.

Acupuncture is used effectively to reduce the pain and inflammation of sports injuries.  It has also been shown to increase range of motion and accelerate healing time.  Acupuncture can benefit sports injuries at any stage: to prevent, to treat acute pain, swelling and spasms, and to address conditions that make athletes vulnerable to re-injury.  Studies have shown that acupuncture increases blood circulation to specific areas of the body, which not only promotes healing of sports injuries but could also boost athletic performance.

A study conducted at the Beijing University of Traditional Chinese Medicine in which athletes received acupuncture after running three miles revealed quicker heart rate recovery than those in the control group.

The American Journal of Acupuncture published a study that examined the effects of acupuncture on anaerobic threshold and work capacity during exercise.  Researchers found that those who received acupuncture not only had lower heart rates, but had higher maximal exercise capacity and were able to handle greater workloads at the onset of blood lactate accumulation (OBLA) than those in the placebo group.

The January 2008 issue of the Clinical Journal of Sports Medicine observed the effects of acupuncture on cyclists.  Participants were divided into three groups that either received acupuncture, sham acupuncture or no acupuncture prior to periods of high-intensity cycling.  The study revealed that the group who received acupuncture that adhered to the principles of Traditional Chinese Medicine had a higher performance scores and rode faster than their counterparts.

If preexisting or new sports injuries are hindering your training or recreational goals, acupuncture and Chinese medicine should be considered a viable option for a speedy recovery.  Don’t let sports injuries keep you from enjoying life!

1 comment to The Role of Acupuncture in Sports Injuries and Athletic Performance

  • I commonly see athletes with sports injuries. One of my favorite treatments for groin pull injuries is a one needle treatment on a point near the opposite elbow. This point is a Master Tung point called Heartgate. Insert this one needle and stimulate. Help your patient gently move the affected leg, and as with most Master Tung treatments, see immediate results!