Acupuncture for Athletes

“I injured my knee playing tennis and expected it to heal within a few days. After three weeks of going to the gym and having chronic knee pain I decided to take a break. I ended up not going to the gym for a year and when I returned I still had the knee pain, I was worried at that point that I had permanently injured my knee.

Thank goodness I soon met Denise and went to her for two treatments and then began using a topical spay she gave me. I am now back in the gym and able to do squats and lunges again. I wish I’d known Denise when the injury had first happened. Thank you Denise for getting my flabby thighs back into the gym. “ – Isabel R.

If you identify with any of these statements then acupuncture can help:

  • I love to go to the gym but am unable to due to pain; I’m worried I need surgery.

  • I hurt myself during a run but do not want to stop exercising and lose my focus.

  • I’m preparing for a marathon and want to be in top shape.

  • I want to improve my recovery time after working out.

  • I hurt my ankle and have been unable to dance.

These are some of the concerns that athletes have come to Denise to treat:

  • Back pain

  • Knee pain

  • Hip pain

  • Ankle pain

  • Joint pain

  • Muscle twitching and spasms

  • Plantar fasciitis

Pain conditions are the most common ailments for which athletes seek out acupuncture. With acupuncture and other Traditional Chinese medical treatments such as cupping, moxibustion, herbs and topical herbal pain relievers, Denise helps athletes back on their road to recovery. Chinese medicine can also be helpful in preventing subsequent injuries by focusing on the person’s body type and overall health, not just on the injured parts.

How can acupuncture help an athlete?

Acupuncture can sometimes be used directly on the site of injury, or at distal points that are related to that injury site to help improve qi and blood flow to the injured area. When qi and blood are “stuck” at a certain area of the body, there can be pain or bruising present. When there is inflammation present we may call that toxic heat and the goal is to clear heat and remove toxins. We do this with a combination of acupuncture, herbs and possibly topical ointments if the skin in the injured area is not broken.

Electroacupuncture (also called e-stim) may be used as additional stimulation to help ease pain and muscle spasms. Small electrodes are hooked up to the acupuncture needles and an electric current is sent to them during the whole treatment.

What are cupping and moxibustion?

Cupping is a therapy in which glass or plastic suction cups are used over a painful area to help relax the muscles. It is often used on the back for muscle spasms but can be used on other areas of the body. The cups are held onto the skin by a vacuum seal created with fire or a suction pump. If the pain is over a wide area, they can be moved around and will feel like a strong massage. If the pain is concentrated, they can be left in place for 5-10 minutes. Cupping is great for recent acute injuries.

Moxibustion uses the herb mugwort (moxa) in various forms that are burned near the injured site or on the acupuncture needle directly. Moxa helps move stuck energy that shows up as pain or swelling and is great for chronic pain issues.

What kind of herbs are you going to give me for pain? Can’t I just take ibuprofen?

Sure, you can take ibuprofen. If you take Chinese herbs, however, they will help resolve the pain and prevent further injuries.

For athletes who train regularly, or who are preparing for a big event such as a marathon, Denise can give them a special herbal formula to take that will help improve their recovery time while training. The basic formula is called Harvest the Training Powder and is based on an ancient Shaolin warrior recipe. It can be modified to fit individual needs. There are also herbal formulas that are targeted for specific areas of the body. There are herbs, for example, that are used specifically for the neck and shoulder area and some that are used for the knees.

Specially prepared topical herbal liniments for different areas of the body can also be used in conjunction with internal formulas. You may already be familiar with some of the pre-made topical patches and liniments such as Zheng Gu Shui and Dit da Jow liniment or Yunnan Baiyao patches, powder and sprays.