Acupuncture is an ancient medicine, but it is also incredibly adaptable to the modern world Depending on to whom you speak, acupuncture is between 3,000 and 5,000 years old. At the beginning of this medicine, using acupuncture to treat sports injuries was certainly not high on its list of priorities! Of greater concern was surviving the winter, getting enough food, saving one’s rice paddies from flood, etc.. Yet this very adaptable ancient medicine is a great too to have in any athlete’s tool kit, be they professional or weekend warrior.
I am fortunate to live in a very active city with many exceptional athletes. Having been practicing acupuncture for over 15 years, I have been fortunate to have the privilege of treating some of the top athletes Boulder county. I have been able to help them in every stage of training- whist in season, while training for the season, while in recovery, just before and after an event. I am amazed at the speed in which athletes recover when using acupuncture either alone or in conjunction with traditional therapies (PT, taping, stretching, etc)
What does acupuncture have to offer in the healing of sports injuries? We can go “all woo-woo” on it and talk about stagnation in the meridians and Blood and qi deficiency, or we can speak about it in a language that MOST people will understand: Acupuncture works by increasing the circulation in the area, and decreasing swelling and inflammation. Easy, understandable, and that is the root of so many sports injuries on which acupuncture works very well.
I have successfully treated many athletic injuries, including, but not limited to:
· -Runner’s knee
· -Plantar fasciitis
· -Ligamentous strain (MCL, ACL)
· -Shin splints
· -Posterior tibialis stress reaction
· -Hamstring strain
· - Ankle sprain
· -Iliotibial band syndrome
· -Quadriceps imbalance
· -Recovery from total knee replacement
And that’s only the lower extremity! This list is meant not to show everything that acupuncture is useful for, but rather to exhibit it’s versatility.
Acupuncture works by gently nudging the body into doing what it knows how to do- heal itself. It is a very safe drug free (no problem with performance enhancing drug tests!) treatment method that every athlete should keep in their rehab kit-
Amy Dickinson, L.Ac., MTCM, is a 3rd generation Sports Medicine doctor- but the first one to use Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine. She is an Associate Professor at Southwest Acupuncture College and directs the Interns of the Sports Medicine Clinic there.