“Of all the causes which conspire to render the life of a man short and miserable, none have greater influence than the want of proper exercise.”

– Dr. William Buchan, 18th-century Scottish physician

Whether you workout at the gym or are a seasoned athlete, keeping your body in optimal shape is a top priority. No matter your age, it has been shown over and over how any type of exercise is better than none.

Psychology Today recently reported on a new study citing high energy aerobic exercise as staving off age related conditions and possible diseases. The study prompted this quote by Senior author, Dr. Sreekumaran Nair,

“Based on everything we know, there’s no substitute for these exercise programs when it comes to delaying the aging process. These things we are seeing cannot be done by any medicine []… exercise is critically important to prevent or delay aging. There’s no substitute for that.”

However, a good exercise program may not always agree with your physical abilities. Sometimes this can result in basic workout pain to severe discomfort that discourages altogether. Using conventional anti-inflammatory OTC (over-the-counter) or prescribed medicines may relieve pain fast but could linger in your organs.

Working with a professional acupuncturist offers a unique approach to maintaining an athletic protocol. Through scheduled acupuncture visits you can reduce muscle, tendon, ligament and even bone pain as well as assist your strengthening capability.

Follow the Pro’s

As body monitoring technology and blood chemistry enhancement continues to advance, lab studies are offering more rapid, detailed and significantly accurate results. In one study, new data of the effects of acupuncture on professional athletes showed significant findings.

Researchers from the Department of Holistic Wellness, MingDao University, Taiwan had a study published in the American Journal of Chinese Medicine which found notable results of the effects of acupuncture on a small group of elite basketball athletes.

The edited study abstract is described here,

“This study aimed to investigate the effects of acupuncture stimulation on athletes’ recovery abilities. Subjects were selected from 30 male elite university basketball players who were randomly assigned to 3 groups: acupuncture group, sham [random acupuncture points] group, and normal (control) group, each containing 10 subjects. Acupuncture was carried out on each athlete in acupuncture group at the Neiguan (PC6) and Zusanli (ST36) acupoints, beginning at 15 min prior to exercise and continuing until exhaustion of the subject. Similar acupuncture was also carried out on each athlete in the sham group but the positions were 1 cm away from the PC6 and ST36 acupoints. No acupuncture was conducted on the athletes in the normal group. During the experiments, each subject performed separate runs on the treadmill. The data of heart rate (HR(max)), oxygen consumption (VO(2max)), and blood lactic acid were measured during the rest period and at 3 recovery points of time (5th, 30th and 60th min) post-exercise. The results showed that the acupuncture group (PC6 and ST36) has significantly lower HR(max), VO(2max) and blood lactic acid than both the sham and normal groups at the 30th min post-exercise. Blood lactic acid of the acupuncture group was also significantly lower than that of the other two groups in the 60th min post-exercise. Our findings have shed some light on the development of effective acupuncture schemes to enhance the recovery ability for elite basketball athletes.”

Although small, this study is a minor example of the major effects acupuncture can have when it comes to many applications including athletic performance and recovery.

Nitric Acid Release

The mostly painless application of small, hair thin needles to specific locations throughout the body has shown some surprising systemic changes. The Healthcare Medical Institute reports of the body’s biochemical reaction to acupuncture citing  that,

“New research reveals that acupuncture stimulates the release of biochemicals that relieve athletic fatigue due to intensive endurance exercises. Researchers found that acupuncture applied to specific acupuncture points increases antioxidant activity and decreases biochemical releases that are markers for oxidative stress.”

Medical News Today investigates how another study measured the release of nitric acid in the blood after acupuncture treatments stating,

“The authors explain that nitric oxide increased the blood flow, which, in turn, may have triggered the release of analgesic [pain relieving] substances that make the skin feel warm and enhance the therapeutic effect of needling.”

It is a substantial sign when something as benign as needle placement can have such an enormous effect on the body.

Case Studies

Lab work is essential for the overall investigation of acupuncture healing properties however it is real life accounts that are just as important. Acupuncture Today describes a few case studies of acupuncture for the athlete.

“There is a case study on a baseball pitcher who’s fastball would characteristically slow down after approximately 50 pitches, but with acupuncture intervention, although he was not able to increase his speed, was at least able to maintain the fastball speed. There was also a study performed on elite male cyclists who compete in 20-km races. With an acupuncture protocol implemented, they found that there was a significant increase in performance plus a lowered rating perceived exertion (RPE).”

Acupuncture for the athlete is rapidly being implemented into major and minor sports programs throughout the U.S. (Europe and Asia have long used an acupuncture protocol as well as massage, chiropractic and various other non-medical alternative modalities for athletes such as cupping).

If you are on a good exercise program or thinking about increasing your physical activity, acupuncture could enhance your performance and reduce your pain without side effects.

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 Insurance Companies that commonly carry acupuncture benefits for its members. Please call 914.337.2980 or securely email info@intmedsolutions.com 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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