Acupuncture and Naturopathic Medicine Can Ease Sports InjuriesWhether you are a weekend warrior or a professional athlete, acupuncture and naturopathic medicine can ease sports injuries on a deep, beneficial level. Using this holistic remedy approach could strengthen bones, muscles, ligaments, tendons and more resulting in a longer duration of healthy performance. When applied to physical training it can target an acute or chronic challenge helping reduce inflammation, enhance circulation, decrease bruising, strengthen surrounding tissue, alleviate pain, and sometimes even assist in repairing an injury. Acupuncture and naturopathic medicine can also be used as a preventative measure to give you a leg-up (literally in some cases) on your competition or time challenge.

Athletes Benefit From Acupuncture
In 2010 the New York Times published an article of an acupuncturist that travelled with the New York Jets football team. The testimonials of these professional player’s experience with the weekly acupuncture protocol were impressive as each one considered it “their most important treatment”. According to the acupuncturist interviewed, each session revolved around increasing blood flow and loosening contracted muscles due to over training or injury. Pittsburgh linebacker James Farrior said, “I’m not the same if I don’t have it. It’s like getting the game plan. You can’t go into the week without either one.”

Many other professional sports organizations have incorporated massage and acupuncture as a “secret weapon”, of sorts, to keep their stable of players at the top of their game.

In the MD’s Office
John Cianca, M.D., a rehabilitation specialist at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston and the president of the American Road Race Medical Society comments of using acupuncture as a peripheral protocol to his medical practice which treats many sports related challenges, “I’ve used it very effectively to treat ankle sprains, muscle soreness, tennis elbow, and tendinitis,”

According to an article in Prevention Magazine (Nov., 2011), “Doctors at the Mayo Clinic used acupuncture to treat 22 people with chronic tennis elbow, 80% got complete and lasting relief. Another 10% experienced a marked improvement. “We were treating the worst of the worst—patients who had been seriously disabled by their tennis elbow pain for an average of 14 months before starting acupuncture treatment,” says Peter T. Dorsher, MD, a consultant in the department of physical medicine and rehabilitation at the clinic.”

Scientific Support for Sports Acupuncture
One reason acupuncture works is that is capable of bringing oxygenated blood to injured areas which in turn can speed the healing process.

A study published in the January, 2008 issue of the ‘Clinical Journal of Sports Medicine’ examined the effects of acupuncture on cyclists. Acufinder describes the results, “Twenty male cyclists between 18 and 30 years old underwent three tests per week, riding a stationary bike for 20 kilometers as fast as possible. The volunteers were divided into three groups that either received acupuncture, sham acupuncture or no acupuncture. Acupuncture was administered immediately before cycling. Sham acupuncture was shallow needling of known acupoints. Not only did the study show that the group that received acupuncture had a higher RPE (Rated Perceived Exertion) scores compared to the other tests but the men receiving the real acupuncture treatments completed their cycling tests at a higher acceleration than the others.”

Botanical and Homeopathy
Managing pain, stiffness, injury and more often involves reaching for an over-the-counter (OTC) drug for temporary relief. However, another option is the use of botanicals and homeopathy, two staples of naturopathic medicine, capable of bringing the body’s “stuck energy” and sluggish circulation back into homeostasis. Using these remedies could have the potential to allow the body to fully embrace a healthy longevity rather than a temporary solution that, in some cases, could end up being more destructive. Below are some popular botanical and homeopathic remedies that remain on the front-line of treating sports related injuries.

  • Arnica – This plant is beneficial for reducing inflammation and decreasing bruising as well as alleviating strain symptoms. It can be applied topically as a salve or cream as well as sublingually in homeopathic pellet form. The topical treatment permeates sub-dermally and the sublingual treatment works on an internal, ‘vibrational’ level using highly diluted amounts of arnica to act as a like-cures-like remedy. According to the New York Times (9/14/11), “Pierre Barrieu, a former head fitness coach for the United States Men’s National Soccer Team, had been treating players with arnica pellets and topical formulations since 2002.”
  • Eucalyptus Oil – Blended with a ‘carrier oil’ like almond or jojoba, eucalyptus oil has been known to reduce pain associated with sore muscles, sprains, and other sports related injuries. Add in rosemary oil which can increase healing circulation to the applied area.
  • Hypericum (St. John’s wort) – Homeopathic remedy for a nerve specific injury such as a bruised fingertip, fat lip or coccyx (tailbone) trauma.
  • Symphytum – Another homeopathic remedy that has been used for bone injuries, sometimes referred to as being able to “knit bone”.
  • Licorice – This herb can “jumpstart” the adrenal system to help athletes recover from overtraining stress. (must be monitored by a naturopathic doctor)

When used under the proper guidance of a capable practitioner acupuncture and naturopathic medicine can ease sports injuries. The approaches above are only a small example of the wide range of possible holistic healing techniques a naturopathic doctor can employ for your rigorous physical (and sometimes mental) training challenges. At Integrative Med Solutions, we will design an acupuncture and naturopathic treatment program that works for you. In many cases, insurance covers portions of the acupuncture treatment. Allow us to support you to achieve optimal health. To make an appointment or find out more about how acupuncture and naturopathic medicine can benefit you, please call our office at 914.337.2980 or CLICK HERE to schedule an online appointment.

*Please CLICK HERE to see a current list of In-Network Insurance Companies for Acupuncture that we participate with as well as insurance companies that commonly have Out-of-Network benefits. Please call 914.337.2980 or securely email to verify your specific benefits. If you are emailing, please include your full name, date of birth and insurance identification card number.

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