Acupuncture & The Athlete
Maine Sports Acupuncture is proud to bring the time -tested treatment trusted by the world’s best athletes to Vacationland in order to support Maine’s weekend warriors, competitve athletes and those who value an active lifestyle.
We seek to offer the best care for acute and chronic pain, soft tissue management and injury prevention.
Here are 6 ways Sports Acupuncture supports the Active Lifestyle
Safe, Natural and Effective Treatment of Acute and Chronic Injuries.
Most people come into my office for the first time because of an injury or nagging pain that they can’t get rid of.
Frequently the cause of pain is an injury like an ankle sprain, hamstring strain or rotator cuff tear.
Often enough the cause of their pain or the persistence of an injury is the result of weakness or over excitability of a muscle or muscle group at a distance from the site of pain/injury. For example a weak gluteus medius/minimus can lead to knee or ankle pain and overexcited muscles in the back of the shoulder can lead to pain in the front of the shoulder.
Other times pain is like a car alarm that goes off when a motorcycle goes bye, nothing is damaged, it’s just that your brain is trying to protect you and playing it safe.
The beauty of acupuncture is that when properly used it can address these three basic categories of pain and dysfunction and 1) accelerate the healing process of injuries and tissue damage 2) Activate muscles and muscle groups that are underactive or over-active and 3) positively effect the body’s sensitivity level when there is pain in the absence of injury or tissue damage.
Resilience and Injury Risk Reduction by increasing Pliability and Elasticity of Soft Tissue
“If a branch is too rigid, it will break. Resist, and you will perish. Know how to yield, and you will survive.”
― Liezi, Lieh-tzu: A Taoist Guide to Practical Living
As you age, your ability to repair and rebuild tissue has the potential to diminish. In the long run, this leads to more fibrous, less pliable and less elastic soft tissue. Smart athlete’s recognize this and incorporate strategies to nourish their muscles and soft tissues. The intelligent use of acupuncture, soft tissue work and functional movement has the capacity to move your body in the direction of greater mobility, flexibility, increased neural tone and healthy length-tension relationships of the muscles and soft tissues.
Improved Recovery through Activation of the Parasympathetic Nervous System
Training, Exercise and Activity are the hallmarks of a healthy life and athleticism. And with any plan, routine or strategy or activity the benefits come in the recovery phase.
Recovery from a workout or competition is a function of Rest, Nutrition and Time.
The process of adaptation is the process of recovery. When you short change this side of training you set yourself up for injury, illness and chronic fatigue.
Rest- Your body shifts into Rest & Repair mode during sleep. This is referred to as Parasympathetic Nervous System activity and the more time your body has in this condition the better.
A key hallmark of Acupuncture treatment is the activation of Parasympathetic Activity via Hypothalamic Pituatary Adrenal (HPA) axis. This process improves the ability to recover from training and exercise. Along with Active Recovery Strategies, Sleep, Solid Nutrition, Acupuncture will help athletes bounce back faster and more effectively.
Managing Stress and Anxiety
Most people consider to Stress and Anxiety to be problems of the mind because unchecked thinking, ruminating, worrying and the playing out scenarios occurs in the field of thought. And so the conventional approach these issues has been either talk therapy or psychopharmacology.
However, the systems of the body are also part of this equation including the nervous, immune, endocrine and musculoskeletal to highlight the primary players.
Acupuncture is a “bottom up” approach to addressing stress and anxiety. By addressing the body directly, acupuncture treatments work from the other direction and help to calm the systems and in turn the mind quiets.
Perhaps only second to injuries, illness and fatigue are leading causes of sitting out of training or taking days off. While athletes will generally have greater immunity and are less susceptible to the common cold and flu, when you are overtrained your susceptibility increases. Along with enhancing recovery from training, regular acupuncture treatments have the capacity to improve the immune response in athletes. This is for two reasons 1) the activation of the parasympathetic nervous system allows for increased immune activation and 2) the effect of needling is like exercise for your immune system, keeping it strong and nimble.
By activating a number of immune cells and functions, acupuncture “trains” the immune response.
The number of diseases, symptoms and conditions linked with low-grade-chronic inflammation is large and troubling. It seems that everything is related and exacerbated by systemic inflammation.
Strategies that improve this situation are exercise, sleep and good nutrition.
Nearly all of the positive benefits from acupuncture stem from its capacity to regulate inflammation.