Acupuncture for Runners

 

As the energies around us start to flourish and spring up, so it does inside of us.  We feel more inclined to be outdoors, enjoy the extra hours of sunshine, and the motivation to use our running gear suddenly feels a lot more exciting and effortless. Here’s a quick peek at how Acupuncture can be beneficial for you runners out there. 
 
Promoting maximum health
 
Acupuncture is a well-rounded mode of obtaining and maintaining overall health. In the western culture we have a tendency to think very linearly – a concept that is foreign to eastern philosophy. I express this in hopes of helping you understand that Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine as a general rule are always intending to bring you back to your maximum health – it is a matter of re-instating balance.  Greatly considered a preventative medicine, it just as well is considered a method of healing from injury or illness.  Keep this in mind the next time you find yourself asking the question “is Acupuncture good for this?” 
 
Injury Prevention
 
When we are taking care of ourselves we give our bodies the opportunity to function in a greater and healthier state.  We are also preventing our bodies from easily being injured through our activities.  
Think of Qi (or our vital energy) as our life juice.  It flows through our blood, and through each tissue in our body.  If for any reason there’s a lack of Qi, or nourishment to a certain part of your body – then that area may be prone to injury or complaint.  Picture a kink in your garden hose. The lack of water/nourishment to the plants may cause them to dry out and whither away. These kinks may happen for various reasons such as:
  • Previous injuries/ trauma
  • Long-term tension/ repeated postures
  • Tight muscles
  • Poor circulation
By reinstating the proper flow of energy/Qi through the body, and nourishing all tissues, muscles and organs we can help prevent any future kinks, pains or sprains. For best results in the prevention of injury it is recommended to receive acupuncture on a regular basis – maintenance treatments may range from weekly to once a month, depending on the patient‘s history of injuries and overall health.  Keeping in mind, however, that our own preparation and lifestyle as runner’s are our number one priority – proper warm-up, proper training, healthy nutrition, proper gear and stretching, should be on the top of the list. 
 
Examples of preventable injuries through regular treatment:
 
·         Ankle strains
·         Achilles tendonitis
·         Plantar Fasciitis
·         Shin splints
·         Knee injuries
·         Tight muscles
·         Low back pain
 
Treating Injuries with Acupuncture
 
Whether you have an acute or chronic injury, Acupuncture can help in reducing inflammation and decreasing pain. Body acupuncture points occur at regions underneath the skin where there is a nerve plexus or where a nerve innervates a muscle. By stimulating specific acupuncture points, neural impulses are increased producing an interconnected web of communication from peripheral nerves into the spinal cord, and from the spinal cord up to the brain.  That communication then continues through a circuit from the brain back out to the periphery, sending out signals via neurons down the spinal cord to inhibit the perception of pain. (Oleson, Auriculotherapy Manual). Through the same circuit, the body is alerted in speeding up the process of inflammation, proper circulation and healing. In recent years, important studies have shown acupuncture increases the production of endorphins - opiate-like substances produced in the body to fight pain and stress.  Along with helping in the production of endorphins, it has been shown to release a substance known as cortisol – our body’s own anti-inflammatory drug.  

Verena McCrae, Registered Acupuncturist
 
 
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