Acupuncture is a holistic form of Chinese medicine that, thousands of years after its invention, continues to provide a natural alternative to Western medicine. Its treatment of pain relief, as well as muscle strengthening and restorative effects, makes acupuncture for athletes an ideal treatment for those looking to improve performance and gain long-term health benefits, without resorting to medication.
What is acupuncture?
The acupuncture technique is based on the Chinese principle of qi (“chi”), referring to the natural flow of energy through energetic pathways, or meridians, in the body. The theory behind acupuncture is that daily traumas and stresses create an imbalance of qi, and this balance can be restored by stimulating certain ‘acupuncture points’ on the body.
The human body has over 2,000 acupuncture points, each running along an energetic pathway. Acupuncture works by inserting hair-thin sterile needles into specific acupuncture points, the stimulation of which creates a physiological change in the body. Acupuncture therefore works to re-establish the flow of qi, creating balance, and stimulating the body’s ability to heal itself.
What are the benefits of acupuncture for athletes?
Acupuncture has long been used by athletes as an alternative or to complement Western medicine, for its healing, strengthening and balancing functions. Its benefits include:
- Pain relief. The stimulation of acupuncture points releases endorphins – the body’s natural painkiller. Unlike modern medicine, acupuncture works by accessing the root cause of the pain and allowing the body to heal itself.
- Reduces inflammation.
- Increases range of motion and flexibility by improving blood flow around the body.
- Boosts energy.
- Reduces fatigue.
- Improved sleep quality, giving the body the natural restorative effect of sleep for repair and recovery.
- Improved strength through re-activating the body’s ability to heal.
- Working on your brain chemistry improves self-confidence and helps you relax, helping to eradicate performance anxiety.
- Increased muscle circulation.
What are the benefits of acupuncture over modern medicine?
The holistic nature of acupuncture, together with its well-documented benefits, gives it an advantage over modern medicine for a number of reasons:
- Because it’s completely natural, there are none of the side effects you’d have with medication.
- It eradicates pain by targeting the root cause, as opposed to the short term masking of pain provided by medication.
- It can be combined with massage to help heal soft tissue injuries, improve mobility and strengthen muscles.
The many long-term benefits of acupuncture make it a popular choice for athletes looking to strengthen their body, improve recovery time, and generally enhance their performance.
At Harpenden Physiotherapy, we specialise in western acupuncture for athletes and anyone looking for a natural healing technique. Our physiotherapists are trained to use acupuncture to relieve a number musculoskeletal conditions, as well as a wide range of conditions from migraines and morning sickness, to stress and insomnia. For more information, contact us on 01582 761 448 and our acupuncture specialist Jo Parrott would be happy to run through our acupuncture techniques and how we can help you.acupuncture, sports injuries,