The roster of professional athletes that use acupuncture is long and continues to grow. NFL linebacker James Harrison, Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps, and professional golfer Bernhard Langer are 3 high-profile figures who have embraced acupuncture, and many professional sports teams have acupuncturists on staff to treat their players. But you don’t have to be a professional player to enjoy the benefits of acupuncture. Athletes and sports enthusiasts at any level can improve their sports performance with acupuncture.
Take golf, for example. Executing a proper solid golf swing is more complicated than it appears. Professional golfers make it look effortless, but if your mechanics are off or your muscles are restricted, there’s a lot that can go wrong. Over time, improper form and overusing certain muscle groups can lead to hip, elbow, and lower back injury.
The good news is, combining sports acupuncture with other techniques such as electro-acupuncture, massage, and cupping can get you back in the game and playing like a pro in no time. Whether you’re looking to level up your game or you’ve been sidelined with a sports injury, acupuncture is your best ally for speeding up recovery and improving your performance.
What Injuries Can Acupuncture Treat?
Here’s a list of some of the most common injuries that athletes experience and can be successfully treated with acupuncture.
- Hamstring strains
- Rotator cuff injuries
- Golfer’s elbow
- Tennis elbow
- Shin splints
- ACL strains
- Ankle or knee sprains
In addition, acupuncture can help reverse compensation patterns associated with most injuries. This is what happens when a muscle group pitches in to help an injured or weakened muscle group perform a task. This adds a second layer or stress and tension in the body that your acupuncturist can treat along with the primary injury.
How Can Acupuncture Improve Sports Performance?
Acupuncture can help athletes in so many ways. Whether you’re a pro or a weekend warrior, acupuncture can help you:
- Enhance Focus: Acupuncture helps to reduce anxiety and alleviate pre-game jitters, so you can “get in the zone” and focus on performing your best.
- Shorten injury and workout recovery time: Acupuncture increases blood circulation, which speeds healing. Sports acupuncture uses unique techniques to quickly decrease pain and inflammation, which makes for faster recovery time.
- Relieve Pain: Acupuncture stimulates the release of endorphins, your body’s built-in pain blockers, as well as serotonin, which lifts your mood. A powerful one-two punch to dial down your pain levels fast.
- Increase range of motion: Acupuncture can have a dramatic effect on your body’s movement patterns. Needling specific points stimulates the body’s proprioceptive system and improves energy flow and circulation. Electro-acupuncture can be particularly helpful in restoring proper muscle function after injury.
- Decrease inflammation: Acupuncture stimulates the release of hormones that shut off inflammation in the body.
- Relieve muscle tightness: By targeting certain trigger points, your acupuncturist can help tight and contracted muscles release and stimulate an overall relaxation response in the body.
- Improve quality of sleep: Acupuncture can help you get the good sleep you need to recover from injury, workouts, and simply perform at your best. Poor sleep not only impairs healing but can interfere with your performance and focus when it really counts.
Whether you play sports recreationally or professionally, consider acupuncture to improve your performance and as part of your injury prevention and treatment regimen.
John Kim at Fast Relief Acupuncture is a licensed acupuncturist with a unique approach of combining modern sports medicine techniques with acupuncture to relieve pain, improve performance, and get you back in the game! Book an appointment today!
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