Traditional Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine for Sports Injuries & Performance
Sport is a wonderful way to keep in shape, make friends and have fun. By its very nature sport is competitive and therefore we can at times push ourselves beyond what we should, and this can sometimes result in an injury. These injuries can be acute (trauma) or cumulative (increases over time). It is at times like these that traditional acupuncture and oriental medicine can offer help in areas such as pain relief, repair and recovery.
Traditional Acupuncture and oriental medicine are no new-comers to the world of what is referred to as sports injuries. Over the centuries traditional acupuncturists developed ways of dealing with both injuries and recovery driven by the needs of martial artists of ancient China and Japan. These fighters performed at incredibly high levels of human ability and endurance, and often sustained injuries (both trauma and cumulative).
With the help of Traditional Acupuncture and oriental medicine these martial artists were, back in action sooner than might be expected. Traditional acupuncture and oriental medicine is still used extensively by leading martial artists today.
Many of the techniques used in traditional acupuncture and oriental medicine have undergone hundreds, if not in some cases, thousands of years of clinical observations.
By comparison modern sports therapy and its therapists have only had a few decades of experience in dealing with these problems. Sports teams and sporting organisations, including many well known sporting personalities now incorporate acupuncture in treating injuries, and keeping athletes in peak condition. The techniques often being used by modern therapists is what’s known as Dry Needling. Dry Needling, which treats the local area through what are known as trigger points (muscle knots), often takes just a few hours to learn. This sort of needling (Dry Needling) is often the type used by physiotherapists, doctors, chiropractors, osteopaths and sports therapists. Nothing in this area is new. Like so many other modern therapies, it has often just been re-invented and given a trendy name.
This system (Dry Needling) should not be confused with traditional acupuncture. Traditional Acupuncturists train for four years, and incorporate much, much more than just trigger point therapy. A Traditional acupuncturist focuses upon the repair, recovery and regeneration of the whole athlete. Both in terms of mobility and overall health. Traditional acupuncture sessions are often the choice of some athletes as part of their health management program. Prevention is better than cure. From a Traditional point of view many injuries can be linked to underlying health issues and imbalances. These are best corrected.
At The Shen Clinic we deal with many sports injuries, including helping those who compete at high levels of performance. In addition to these, 10,000’s of treatments for pain have been carried out at The Shen Clinic referred by GP’s and the medical profession.
Along-side acupuncture we often use other areas of oriental medicine, such as Shiatsu, oriental massage, enabling us to get to problem areas that are stressed (including mental stresses), by using techniques that are both thoughtfully, and sympathetically applied. Sometimes herbs, and nutrition might also be recommended. Practitioners have attended seminars in Sports Nutrition and Performance, keeping the protocols at the clinic in-line with developments in sports sciences and performance .
In the first instance, injuries should be seen by your doctor in case these require medical or hospital treatment.
Once it has been established that the injury is not serious, or you are in the rehabilitation stage, consider using Traditional Acupuncture and Oriental medicine as part of your recovery strategy. Many athletes do, often getting them back into action and back in the game quicker.
Some common traumatic injuries that Traditional Acupuncture might help:
- Wrist sprains and Strains
- Ankle sprains and strains
- Shoulder rotator cuff tears and strain
- Vertebral disc inflammation in the neck or back
- Knee ligament and meniscus injuries (common in activities that require a lot of sudden starting, stopping and direction changing)
- Strains and tears of any muscle or tendon (hamstring, Achilles tendon, groin)
There are 3 general guidelines that can be used as indicators as to what your aches and pains may be telling you.
- Cumulative injuries are often felt more in the joints: shoulders, knees, elbows, wrists, hip joints, whereas training soreness may be felt more in the muscles.
- In cumulative injuries the nagging soreness usually presents itself during or following playing sports, whereas soreness from typical training does not appear until 24-48 hours later.
- Injuries that are cumulative will repeatedly occur in the same areas week after week, whereas soreness from training usually will not.
Some culmulative injuries caused by over-use.
- Shoulder tendinitis, bursitis, arthritis, and impingement syndrome.
- Tennis elbow, golfers elbow and elbow bursitis
- Knee arthritis
- Hip bursitis
- Wrist tendonitis
- Illiotibial band syndrome
PAIN …. Treatment and management Acute and Chronic:
In Traditional terms, although an injury is physical ( a break of a leg bone is material) the repair is energetic (bringing energetic information to the site for repair).
Pain has many causes, and its purpose is to tell you something is wrong. Never ignore pain. However, when a pain signal becomes chronic (on-going) it can become a cause in and of itself. Traditionally acupuncture is used to address both the underlying cause of the pain as well as the pain signal. It takes into account the interplay between the signal of the injury, and the central nervous systems memory of that signal.
In dealing with say arthritis the use of Acupuncture traditionally addresses the inflammation, muscular guarding and tension that occur around the joint spaces. This decrease in tension allows for less irritation in the joints and a marked decrease in pain. Despite the presence of spurring there is substantial evidence to show a marked decrease in pain levels that often persist as treatment progresses.
Similarly, back pain most commonly caused by muscular strain, can over time and through repetitive use, lead us to develop postures that are not as capable of adapting to stresses. Traditionally acupuncture is used to release the areas where muscles are too tight, and support, or tone, those that are weakened by disuse.
Nothing much is really new. Modern man has learnt to re-invent ideas from the past, and re-package them, often without truly understanding the subject. This is why we are seeing the dilution of therapeutic techniques (fast track training), resulting in some therapies often becoming little more than pacifiers and novelties.
Traditional Acu-Sport Therapy sets out to regulate the flow of energy throughout the entire body, resulting in optimum circulation and function. Imagine what could be possible when your organs, muscles, tendons and joints are receiving vital amounts of nutrients, and waste products are carried away quickly and efficiently. This could increase physical performance, endurance and
Techniques used in Traditional Acu-Sport Therapy are based upon 3000 years of clinical observations. These have been formulated and used by some of the greatest athletes to have ever lived – ancient Chinese and Japanese Martial Artists.
“ The Ancients Stole Our Great Ideas”
Acu-Sport Therapy sets out to regulate the flow of energy throughout the entire body, often resulting in optimum circulation and function. Imagine what could be possible when your organs, muscles, tendons and joints are receiving vital amounts of nutrients, and waste products are carried away quickly and efficiently. This could increase physical performance, endurance and ultimately result in fewer injuries and faster recovery. Traditional Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine can be extremely valuable for improving the outlook for athletes, as many professional sports personalities already know.