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Can acupuncture help to heal sports injuries?

We all know that regular exercise is good for us – it helps to keep the body flexible, exercises the heart to keep it healthy and aids weight control by burning body fat to keep us at a healthy weight.

Many people take up sports to help them stay fit – from intensive high impact sports like football and rugby to more passive but still demanding pursuits such as cycling to the more sedate pastimes like golf, sport can be an enjoyable way to be sociable and stay fit.

But, as with most things, there’s a downside to playing competitive sport – especially contact sports like rugby – and that’s the increased risk of injury.

Even personal fitness routines such as running or jogging can cause painful injuries, whether chronic or otherwise.

I see a lot of people who come to me nursing musculoskeletal damage they’ve sustained in their exercise regimens. But acupuncture is a brilliant way of helping the body to heal and regenerate.

How does acupuncture work?

Acupuncture has been around for many centuries and is probably the best known of the traditional Chinese medicines.

It works by painlessly inserting superfine needles into the skin at strategic points on the body. These single use, sterile needles help to stimulate the body’s natural healing energy – known as the Qi and pronounced ‘chee’ – and remove blockages in the energy pathways this energy travels along.

This process, which many patients find to be supremely relaxing – helps to restore the body’s natural balance.

There are many benefits to having acupuncture as part of your rehabilitation from a sports injury.

Acupuncture can help reduce pain and discomfort

Pain relief is one of the obvious benefits that acupuncture brings. The naturally occurring pain-relieving chemicals in the body, such as endorphins and opioids, are stimulated through acupuncture and bring natural relief from the pain and discomfort that sports injuries cause.

Acupuncture can improve blood flow and distribution to accelerate healing

 The same process of natural chemical stimulation that helps to suppress pain also encourages the release of chemicals that encourage blood vessel dilation and vascular permeability, both of which aid improved blood flow.

This in turn promotes faster reduction in inflammation and bruising.

Acupuncture relieves tension and pressure

When we get injured, there’s a reflexive response within the body to tighten or tense muscles to protect the damaged area. We know these as muscle knots, but they can also inhibit healing.

Acupuncture can help to relax these knots – or trigger points – to enable the body to heal more rapidly.

Acupuncture can help harness the mind and body to improve performance

Performance is always enhanced when the mind and body work in tandem together. Acupuncture stimulates what’s known as the parasympathetic response which aims to ensure physiology and psychology are in tune with one another.

Acupuncture will allow you, over time and with regular treatments, to quickly and easily find a mental state that supports the needs of your body, thereby helping you to reduce the risk of future injury.

Acupuncture increases your energy levels by reducing stress and improving the quality of your sleep

Acupuncture is so relaxing that I’ve known patients to fall sound asleep during a treatment! This level of relaxation is important, because it reinforces the need for good quality sleep as a healing tool.

When we find it difficult to sleep, or our sleep is constantly interrupted, our energy drains away. Poor sleep also contributes to higher stress levels and, over time, reduced performance.

Acupuncture is good for the body, as well as the soul

T here are also physical aspects to some treatments that can be really beneficial in developing a healthy body. Cupping, gua sha and Tuina are all ancient methods of invigorating someone physically.

Cupping aids circulation, gua sha helps to remove unnecessary and unwanted waste matter from muscle groups and Tuina is a form of massage.

You can visit us at to find out more about these and other treatments.

Acupuncture is holistic, so treats more than you think!

As an holistic treatment that benefits every part of the mind and body, acupuncture often treats problems you didn’t even know you had by ensuring the healing energy that is constantly within us is working as efficiently as possible.

Can regular acupuncture help to prevent injury

The short answer is yes it can.

Many athletes have adopted a regular programme of acupuncture to help them maintain general physical and mental health (acupuncture is also very good for restoring emotional balance).

Because acupuncture promotes natural healing it can work alongside other treatments such as physiotherapy, osteopathy and chiropractic to help you stay fit and maintain mobility, flexibility, and agility.

I am a firm believer in an integrative approach to maintaining good health. What that means in practice is that patients approach their health and wellbeing in three ways: clinical medicine, complementary medicine, and lifestyle medicine.

Clinical medicine as an important place in our day-to-day health management. Although there are many conditions that don’t necessarily require pharmaceutical solutions, there are obviously those that do, and I would always encourage my patients to seek a clinical opinion from their GP for significant injuries or conditions.

Complementary medicine works alongside clinical medicine to offer ongoing support. Acupuncture, physiotherapy, chiropractic and osteopathy are good examples of complementary medicine in this context – and remember, complementary therapies are not mutually exclusive either.

Lifestyle medicine is probably equally important in sports injury management. The simple fact is that the choices we make in how we live our lives have an impact on our health.

Knowing when your physical limitations require you to make allowances and adjustments in how you exercise and understanding what those allowances look like is an equally important part of your healthcare – especially as you age.

If you’d like to know more about acupuncture for sports injuries, please visit us at where you can find out more about us and the amazing benefits acupuncture can bring to your physical and mental wellbeing.


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