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Visiting a Chinese medicine doctor or an acupuncturist is certainly a very different experience than you’re accustomed to with traditional Western medicine. If the practitioner was trained in Traditional Chinese Medicine, it’s probable he or she will analyze your tongue and several ‘pulses’ of the different veins running through your wrist in order to make a diagnosis. Then the treatment begins – based on your diagnosis the practitioner will determine which points in your body the acupuncture needles will be used. The placement of needles is generally almost painless, as needles enter only a few millimeters beyond the surface of the skin. Some acupuncturists will apply a heat lamp or electric current to the needles, and then you’re left to lie in peace and relax while the needles do their work.
Practitioners may use interesting modalities, too. These can include massage (sometimes referred to as Tui Na) or hot compresses, Chinese herbal medicine with funky odors, or ‘cupping’ in which glass or plastic cups are suctioned to your back.
Depending on your own personal beliefs, Traditional Chinese Medicine might seem unscientific or pretty ‘woo-woo’. Or instead, maybe you place your faith in the fact Chinese medicine has 2000 years of history behind it . The truth is, even Western medicine has begun to embrace acupuncture as a valid alternative therapy. Although science still doesn’t completely understand the mechanism by which acupuncture works, it does seem that for many ailments, it DOES work.
ACUPUNCTURE FOR SPORTS INJURIES
Acupuncture can be helpful for a wide range of sports injuries including strains, sprains, muscle and joint pain. It can help to decrease swelling, spasms and inflammation as well as relieve pain and shorten recovery time. Many professional athletes who receive acupuncture treatments for their injuries concur that it helps your body recover from injury faster.
Several recent studies have shown that acupuncture can be effective for different types of injuries. A study conducted at Johns Hopkins University Medical School found that people with chronic tendonitis and arthritis who had 20-minute acupuncture sessions twice per week had less pain and disability than those who received placebo acupuncture. Another study conducted in 2008 showed that participants who received acupuncture for muscle soreness 24 and 48 hours after they exercised to exhaustion reported less pain than those who didn’t receive the treatment.
How does acupuncture work? Scientists aren’t exactly sure, but one theory is that the body may respond to the needles by increasing blood flow to affected areas, thereby speeding the healing process. However it is that it works, acupuncture is a safer and natural treatment for pain that may be worth your consideration.
ACUPUNCTURE FOR BACK PAIN
Back pain is one of the most common reasons people turn to acupuncture. It can be extremely helpful in reducing pain and shortening recovery time. Electrical current is often used when treating back pain with acupuncture, as the needles can help the current travel deeper into the muscle tissue.
Many pregnant women experiencing back pain also turn to acupuncture for relief, as an alternative to taking anti-inflammatory medications. The safe and non-invasive nature of acupuncture makes it a suitable pain treatment for pregnant women.
WHEN SHOULD YOU GET ACUPUNCTURE?
If you are experiencing an injury that lasts more than a few days, be sure to see a Western doctor first to determine the degree of severity. Acupuncture may be combined with whatever treatment your doctor prescribes, or can be used to decrease pain if the doctor advises that no treatment is necessary beyond rest.
The beauty of acupuncture is that it is such a safe, mild treatment, that it really can’t harm you or interfere with other treatments you might be undergoing. However, do consult with your doctor about any Chinese herbs or medications prescribed to you to ensure there are no potential interactions with Western pharmaceutical medications you may already be taking.
When looking for an acupuncturist, look for a state licensed medical acupuncturist. Most states in the USA require certification from the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM) who have at least 1,800 hours of training, who have graduated from an accredited school and who’ve passed NCCAOM’s exam. Alternatively, you can look for a medical acupuncturist who is a board certified MD physician (try www.medicalacupuncture.com) who’s received training approved by the American Board of Medical Acupuncture.
Looking for a fitness program that is specially designed to maximize your results while actually helping to prevent injury? Athlean-XX for Women was designed by Jeff Cavaliere, former Physical Therapist to the New York Mets. He’s carefully selected exercises that are tailored to the unique needs of a woman’s body in order to build functional strength in all of the muscle groups. In Athlean-XX for Women, we pay special attention to correct form in order to help prevent injury. While we recommend that you see a specialist if you do experience an injury, we’re happy to help answer your questions about modifying Athlean-XX exercises via our Facebook page. Join us on Team Athlean and benefit from this amazing program designed by a medical expert!
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