Being a professional athlete involves dedication and hard work to be the best at playing your sport. But with long hours of intense training, it’s essential to give your body a break to prevent injuries and maintain your performance.
Acupuncture may be the last thing that comes to mind when keeping you in shape. However, inserting needles at various points in your body can provide you with several benefits. That’s why many famous athletes incorporate acupuncture into their training regimens, as regular treatments keep them in peak physical condition.
But you don’t have to be an NFL quarterback to reap the benefits of acupuncture. Whether a student or a rookie athlete, discover how acupuncture can help you stay in top shape.
1. Pain Relief and Injury Recovery
Acupuncture is known for its ability to heal and manage pain. So, if you often experience sore and tight muscles from intense training, regular acupuncture sessions can be beneficial.
Acupuncture relieves pain by stimulating your central nervous system and releasing endorphins, your body’s natural pain-killing hormones. While acupuncture may not sew back torn ligaments, it can help treat injuries associated with muscle strains and sprains, such as tendonitis and tennis elbow.
Furthermore, acupuncture provides a natural alternative to pharmaceutical pain medication since it has no side effects or causes addiction.
2. Muscle Relaxation and Flexibility
Another benefit you can get from regular acupuncture treatments is it relaxes your muscles, improving your flexibility and range of motion. Flexibility is essential for an athlete since it allows you to perform various movements, such as jumping and running, without straining your muscles.
Acupuncture stimulates your motor point to deactivate a tight muscle and reactivate a weak muscle. It also improves your blood circulation to deliver more oxygen and nutrients to promote relaxation and remove metabolic wastes that contribute to muscle stiffness. As a result, you’ll have a better range of motion when playing your sport.
3. Improved Recovery Time
Training and working hard may be necessary for an athlete, but it’s also essential to allow your body to rest. But, if you’re in the middle of a big game season, recovering after an intense game or workout can feel like a luxury.
Acupuncture can help shorten your recovery period by relaxing your muscles and decreasing soreness. A 2020 study shows that acupuncture after intense exercise can effectively alleviate Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS). The great thing about it is it has long-lasting effects, where you can feel its benefits 24 hours after treatment, and would reach its point 72 hours later.
4. Enhanced Performance
Playing a sport requires an athlete to be present and responsive to perform well during the game. This involves a quick response time and excellent hand-eye coordination to beat their opponents. Regular acupuncture treatments can improve your cognitive function so you can keep your head in the game.
An older study shows that acupuncture can improve endurance and your running time. That’s because it’s believed that acupuncture lowers the stress on your heart, improves your blood flow, and increases your threshold for running. As a result, you’ll perform and compete better in your sport.
5. Stress Reduction
Intense training and the pressure to perform at your best can be stressful for an athlete. However, being stressed constantly can be a double-edged sword because it can affect your performance. To combat this, you can relax your mind and body through regular acupuncture sessions.
The treatment lowers your cortisol levels, which are hormones associated with stress. It also releases endorphins and serotonin to enhance your mood.
In addition, acupuncture is believed to influence your autonomic nervous system, which controls your body’s stress response. It shifts your body toward parasympathetic dominance to counteract the effects of chronic stress and induce relaxation.
6. Prevention of Overuse Injuries
With constant training and intense workouts, overusing and injuring their body can be inevitable for athletes if they’re not careful. Since keeping your body in top shape is vital to perform at your best, incorporating acupuncture into your regular routine can prevent injuries from overusing your muscles.
The treatment does this by relaxing your muscles to reduce tension. It also improves your blood circulation, ensuring better delivery of oxygen and nutrients to your muscles and connective tissues. In addition, acupuncture has anti-inflammatory effects to reduce inflammation caused by repetitive movements and overused muscles.
Ready to Book an Acupuncture Treatment?
If you want to incorporate acupuncture into your training regimen, book your treatments at Lycoming Orthopedic & Sports Acupuncture. They have a team of licensed acupuncturists ready to customize your treatment to help you attain your health goals. They also offer cupping, dry needling, and corrective exercise treatments so you can achieve overall wellness. If you have questions or inquiries, you can visit their website for more information.