What is Sports Acupuncture?


As a highly active person, you may find you’re at risk of all kinds of injuries and maladies. Unfortunately, while your body endures a lot, it still has its limits. When you push yourself too hard, you may risk tearing and pulling muscles, or even worse. That’s when it’s time to start looking for treatments to help restore mobility and power. But, did you know that sports acupuncture may help you to prepare for intensive exercise?

But what is sports acupuncture – and how does it differ from traditional practices? In this guide, we’ll look at what you need to know, and how sports therapy may help you reach new goals and records.

Sports acupuncture in brief

Sports acupuncture borrows treatment elements from traditional Chinese medicine and from staple elements of sports medicine and science. Specifically, it’s the treatment of sports-related injuries through direct acupuncture, dry needling, and other therapies.

Athletes and highly active people are at high risk of injuries that restrict movement and block career progress. The basic principles of acupuncture, which involves the insertion of sterilized needles across meridian points across the body, can help to both prepare and heal active bodies.

Alongside a healthy program of physiotherapy, sports acupuncture promotes healing from muscular dysfunction and relieves short and long-term pain. Each case – and patient – will expect a different level of care, but the goals are largely the same. Either to help prepare for intensive exercise or to help recover from restrictive injuries.

What are some of the direct benefits of acupuncture for sportspeople and athletes?

As an ancient practice, acupuncture has been relied upon to help keep bodies supple, mobile and free from restricting pain for centuries. Here are a few ways these principles – and the practice of needling – can help benefit active people regularly engaging in sports.

Acupuncture can help to relieve inflammation

Sportspeople and athletes taking part in intensive exercise may be at heightened risk of developing inflammation across the body. Whether this is in the knees, ankles, or elbows, inflammation can cause soreness, reduce strength and restrict free movement.

Acupuncture can help to reduce inflammation through careful practice. While some medication may also help reduce inflamed tissue’s effects, active people may expect a reduction in soreness after just one session.

Acupuncture can help improve blood flow

Ancient Chinese medicine regards acupuncture as essential for helping to release energy through channels across the body. Through centuries of development and trials, modern practitioners can now target bodily tissue to help release nitric oxide. This means patients can expect their arteries to open and close more efficiently.

Improved circulation across the body can help to promote faster healing, helping sportspeople regain strength and mobility in painful, restricted areas. This practice can also help to promote better cardiovascular health over time, providing patients take part in regular sessions.

Acupuncture can help to enhance endurance

While acupuncture is great at helping to heal bodily injury and manage pain, it may also help sportspeople and athletes prepare for high-endurance activities. This is a result of nervous system regulation and helps to promote healthier blood flow to organs and vital areas of the body.

Of course, protection against high-endurance activity may only be so effective depending on the body profile of the patient, and how regularly they undertake acupuncture.

Which sports and activities can acupuncture benefit?

Acupuncture may benefit a variety of sports and activities of different exertion levels. From gentle walking and arm swings in golf to all-around exertion through tennis and squash, regular acupuncture can help to keep the body flexible and supported when up against physical challenges.

Directed acupuncture can also help to relieve and rehabilitate active people suffering from specific sports-related injuries. For example, patients suffering from meniscus tears may benefit from regular visits to a needling clinic to release muscle tension and improve flexibility.

There are no restrictions as to which sports or activities may benefit from regular acupuncture. It’s always worthwhile discussing your plans and concerns with a specialist who can set up a custom plan of action.

Sportspeople and athletes who stretch and cool down effectively still need to consider protecting their bodies beyond the gym, track, and field. Acupuncture may help to ease chronic or long-term pain sustained through tennis elbows, sciatica, and frozen shoulders.

Crucially, active people may wish to consult a doctor, physician, or physiotherapist before approaching an acupuncturist regarding treatment. Medical professionals will often refer active people to acupuncture clinics alongside regular medication and physio treatments.

Starting sports acupuncture

If you’re highly active or engage in sports regularly, it’s worth considering acupuncture as a viable method to keep yourself active and on the track or field. Unfortunately, sports injuries and even regular aches, pains, and strains can restrict your mobility and scope of movement. That could mean seriously curbing your career potential, effectively stopping you from doing the things you love.

At Lycoming Orthopedic & Sports Acupuncture, we care deeply about helping people regain the lifestyles they wish to lead. For sportspeople, athletes, and people with active lifestyles, this means regaining a full range of movement and preparing their bodies regularly for challenges that lie ahead.

Whether you’re new to acupuncture or want to try a new treatment or session to treat a sports injury, we’ll help you set up a plan that keeps you on your feet. From your first session at our clinic, we’ll test your strength and talk you through what you can expect long term.

In more than 50% of cases, people leaving our clinic experience an immediate increase in mobility and/or reduction in pain. This may make all the difference between months of agony or breaking a personal record for regularly active people.

No matter your age or physical profile, we’re here to support you. Call to book your initial session with us today, or fill out our web form with your details. We’ll get back in touch with you to arrange your first appointment. It’s time to start supporting your body through all the active fun you have to come.

Ready to get started?