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Using Acupuncture to Improve Athletic Performance


 For fitness and sports enthusiasts, weekend warriors, and athletes looking to improve physical performance, can incorporating acupuncture for sports performance be effective?

Using Acupuncture to Improve Athletic Performance

Acupuncture For Sports Performance

Acupuncture for sports performance follows the same needle insertion for specific points to treat pain symptoms, alleviate inflammation and fatigue, and enhance blood circulation to improve physical and athletic performance. Acupuncture is based on traditional Chinese medicine principles that focus on restoring the balance of the nervous system and body to activate natural healing and increase energy circulation. (Johns Hopkins Medicine. 2024).

  • Acupuncture has become a popular alternative treatment for sports injuries as it has shown positive outcomes and recovery from injuries. (George G. A. Pujalte et al., 2023)
  • The body’s blood and energy pathways, known as meridians, become blocked by inflammation because of illness, injury, or overuse, resulting in pain, stress, and various symptoms. The acupuncture needles stimulate the pathways to clear the blockages, allowing optimal circulation of energy and blood to reduce inflammation and restore balance. (Jiajie Zhu et al., 2021)
  • Sports acupuncture works by maintaining optimal circulation of blood and energy through meridians through the arteries, tendons, muscles, and organs for enhanced productivity and ability. (Liang Kang et al., 2021)
  • Electroacupuncture involves connecting electrical stimulation from a tens machine to specific points over an area to enhance the needle treatment. (Keitaro Kubo et al., 2020)

Acupuncture Can Help

Ways that acupuncture can help include:

Increase Range of Motion

  • Acupuncture can help loosen tight muscles, tendons, and ligaments overused during training or games.(Chi-Tsai Tang, 2023)
  • This allows athletes to perform at peak levels without risking worsening or causing further injury.

Increase Flexibility

  • Acupuncture helps increase elasticity in joints by releasing adhesions within connective tissue for increased mobility.

Improve Reflexes

  • Targeting key points stimulates nerve activity, which can improve quicker reflexes and improve coordination.(Chi-Tsai Tang, Bo Song. 2022)

Increase Circulation

  • Acupuncture increases blood circulation to areas lacking oxygen.
  • This expedites muscle recovery after intense physical exertion.(Keitaro Kubo et al., 2020)

Improve Mental Focus

  • Acupuncture releases endorphins, which reduce pain and also provide an overall sense of calmness and relaxation.
  • This enables athletes to stay focused and motivated throughout training and games. (Chi-Tsai Tang, 2023)

Reduce Fatigue

  • Regular acupuncture for sports performance can help maintain energy levels to help prevent burnout and maintain optimal performance during practice and games. (George G. A. Pujalte et al., 2023)

Relieve Muscle Tension

  • Acupuncture treatment can help relax tense muscles caused by repetitive use as well as from stress tension that could be caused by anxiety before a game or tournament.
  • This helps athletes remain flexible and explosive. (Chi-Tsai Tang, Bo Song. 2022)

For individuals who want to improve their physical performance, sports acupuncture can provide a natural, non-invasive alternative that can help improve athletic performance mentally and physically.

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Johns Hopkins Medicine. (2024). Acupuncture (Health, Issue. www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/wellness-and-prevention/acupuncture

Zhu, J., Li, J., Yang, L., & Liu, S. (2021). Acupuncture, from the ancient to the current. Anatomical record (Hoboken, N.J. : 2007), 304(11), 2365–2371. doi.org/10.1002/ar.24625

Kang, L., Liu, P., Peng, A., Sun, B., He, Y., Huang, Z., Wang, M., Hu, Y., & He, B. (2021). Application of traditional Chinese therapy in sports medicine. Sports medicine and health science, 3(1), 11–20. doi.org/10.1016/j.smhs.2021.02.006

Tang, C. T., & Song, B. (2022). Acupuncture and Dry Needling for Sports Performance and Recovery. Current sports medicine reports, 21(6), 213–218. doi.org/10.1249/JSR.0000000000000968

Kubo, K., Iizuka, Y., Yajima, H., Takayama, M., & Takakura, N. (2020). Changes in Blood Circulation of the Tendons and Heart Rate Variability During and After Acupuncture. Medical acupuncture, 32(2), 99–107. doi.org/10.1089/acu.2019.1397

Tang C. T. (2023). Practicing Outside the Lines: Using Acupuncture in the Athletic Training Room and on the Field. Medical acupuncture, 35(5), 266–269. doi.org/10.1089/acu.2023.0043

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Professional Scope of Practice *

The information herein on "Using Acupuncture to Improve Athletic Performance" is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional or licensed physician and is not medical advice. We encourage you to make healthcare decisions based on your research and partnership with a qualified healthcare professional.

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Our information scope is limited to Chiropractic, musculoskeletal, physical medicines, wellness, contributing etiological viscerosomatic disturbances within clinical presentations, associated somatovisceral reflex clinical dynamics, subluxation complexes, sensitive health issues, and/or functional medicine articles, topics, and discussions.

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Dr. Alex Jimenez DC, MSACP, RN*, CCST, IFMCP*, CIFM*, ATN*

email: coach@elpasofunctionalmedicine.com

Licensed as a Doctor of Chiropractic (DC) in Texas & New Mexico*
Texas DC License # TX5807, New Mexico DC License # NM-DC2182

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Dr. Alex Jimenez DC, MSACP, RN* CIFM*, IFMCP*, ATN*, CCST
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