Research has shown that acupuncture therapy can reduce healing time by as much as 50% and can promote the resolution of injuries in several ways. First and foremost, acupuncture therapy can provide pain relief by stimulating the body’s own endorphin (feel good hormones) system. In a randomized controlled trial of acupuncture for exercise-induced muscle soreness, 22 healthy adults were randomly assigned real acupuncture, sham acupuncture, or control group (no acupuncture). Through eccentric muscle contraction of the elbow until exhaustion, soreness was induced. They found after 72 hours, pain perception was significantly lower with acupuncture, vs sham or no acupuncture. (J Altern Complement Med. 2008 Oct:14(8):1011-6)
By increasing local microcirculation, acupuncture therapy aids in the dispersal of swelling and bruising (Komori et al, 2009). An animal study designed to look into the effects of acupuncture on muscle tissue inflammation showed that manual acupuncture actually downregulated (turned off) pro-inflammatory cells (M1 macrophages) and at the same time, upregulated (activated) anti-inflammatory cells (M2 macrophages), resulting in reduced pain and swelling (Molecular Neurobiology Feb. 2015). Epoch Times reported, “Acupuncture literally flips a switch wherein initial inflammatory responses are reduced and the secondary healing responses are promoted” (May 27,2016).
Acupuncture therapy can break down scar tissue by creating a controlled micro trauma and creating a cascade of healing activities that result in the remodeling of affected soft tissue structure. Acupuncture has shown suppression of the peripheral inflammatory response and other anti-inflammatory mechanisms.
Finally, acupuncture aids in promoting faster recovery after training sessions. An observational study of the effects of female swimmers found that acupuncture can improve exercise tolerance, increase hemoglobin and blood glucose concentrations, and promote quick recovery thus delaying the appearance of sports fatigue (Pan&Pan, 2007).
Some of the most common sports injuries are sprains. This is especially common for runners and trail runners. Acupuncture has been shown to reduce pain and swelling in an acute sprain in a matter of minutes while reducing healing time dramatically. Even where there is real ligament damage (grade 2 or 3 sprains) acupuncture is very effective.
Tendonitis is also a very common sports injury caused by repetitive movement. It is usually in late stage chronic pain by the time help is sought out. Tendonitis can manifest in the rotator cuff, the Achilles tendon, wrist, or commonly elbow. A combination of acupuncture and massage can make a huge difference for this injury. Tendons often heal slower due to a decrease in blood flow to the area. Acupuncture can increase the blood flow to the area thereby decreasing healing time significantly.
A study out of Hong Kong for treatment of frozen shoulder showed:
“Compared with the exercise group, the exercise plus acupuncture group experienced significantly greater improvement with treatment. Improvements in scores by 39.8% (standard deviation, 27.1) and 76.4% (55.0), respectively”
This gives an indication and measure that acupuncture provided significant additional benefit.
AcuSportsTherapy is a top sports acupuncture Delray Beach clinic that helps people reach their highest potential for peak performance in life and sports. Holly Green, founder of AcuSportsTherapy, incorporates principles from Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and Western Sports Medicine to view the patient’s injury from a truly integrated perspective. Contact us to learn how we can help you recover faster, prevent recurring injury, perform at your highest level, and sleep better.
The best time to get acupuncture is BEFORE an injury occurs. Monthly or weekly maintenance can make all the difference in the world when it comes to preventing an overuse injury. Athletes can maintain more consistent injury free training and performing time as well as maintaining a higher level in their performance.
Acupuncture has long been used for stress and anxiety reduction. By stimulating the natural feel good endorphin hormones in the body, cortisol levels have been known to drop. There is evidence that suggests that acupuncture may also work by activating your body’s natural opioid system, which may also help to reduce pain or induce sleep.
Sports medicine acupuncture has been shown to create higher endurance rates while keeping muscles in good condition, decreasing the number of injuries and recovery time, thereby leaving more overall injury free time and better performance in the athletes chosen path.