I was watching the London Olympics men’s gymnastics qualifications today and China and Japan were expected to skip easily through this part of the competition. There were two things that have seemed to have shifted the tides. One was attitude and one was injury. Acupuncture has been shown to be helpful for treating mood and focus, but certainly has far more research to support its role in treating injury.
Traditional Chinese Medicine and acupuncture can help speed the healing of damaged tissues, improve range of motion and function of movement, and control pain. Many top athletes receive acupuncture either as part of their regular wellness routine or to help a faster recovery from injuries. This includes China’s 7 foot 6 inch basketball player Yao Ming. He used acupuncture to get back onto the court after an ankle injury in 2007. Chinese swimmer, Wang Qun, used cupping, a TCM treatment that suctions glass cups on the back to relieve muscle pain, improve blood flow, and relax tight muscles. Other athletes that have used acupuncture and TCM include Dwayne Wade, Matt Hasselback, Grant Hill, Maria Sharapova, and Jaromir Jagr.
TCM treats not just the injury, but also the underlying issues that can predispose a person to injuries. Part of my role is to determine if repetitive movements, overuse, problems with posture, or improper movements are the cause and if I can guide how to avoid re-injury.
If you have an injury or are suffering pain, take a cue from the athletes who use acupuncture to achieve their peak performance.