Follow NHC: RSS Feed
Search the NHC Site
Contact and Clinic Hours

Appointments are available on the following days each week. Please call the landline at 773.506.8971 or email at tcmman1@gmail.com to schedule.

Sunday: 2 – 7PM
Monday: 2 – 8PM
Tuesday: 2 – 8PM
Wednesday: 12 - 6PM
Thursday: 2 – 8PM

Some Health Issues We Treat

Entries in athlete (1)

Sunday
Mar042012

Athletes and Acupuncture

Recently an article was published on Yahoo News which was entitled, Three Health Benefits an Athlete Can Gain from Acupuncture, a segment of which I reprinted in the News section of this website and which is copied below. However, given that acupuncture is so often prescribed for sports injuries and to enhance endurance and performance among competitive athletes, it seemed appropriate to create a section to add research and articles to as they appeared in the scientific and mainstream literature.

Research and Articles

  • A research study evaluation mechanism by which acupuncture improved athletic endurance and performance found that appropriate stimulation caused the body to release a potent cocktail of antioxidant compounds which dramatically increased the healing time of those muscles as well as enhance the performance of the athletes. A summary of this research can be read here and an excerpt is below:

The results measured specific results showing that electroacupuncture has beneficial effects on human health by intervening in the free radical metabolism process in athletes.

The researchers measured significant increases in superoxide dismutase (SOD) and significant decreases in serum malondialdehyde (MDA) for the endurance athletes. Superoxide dismutases are enzymes that have important antioxidant effects in cells. Superoxide dismutases protect cells from toxicity and exert powerful pharmacological anti-inflammatory responses. Acupuncture successfully increased this important biochemical in the bloodstream for the athletes.

Acupuncture was also shown to lower levels of malondialdehyde, an organic compound that is a marker for oxidative stress. Acupuncture lowers levels of this biochemical responsible for toxic stress in cells. Malondialdehyde is associated with pathologies such as disorders of the cornea and osteoarthritis. The researchers concluded that electroacupuncture decreases MDA and increases SOD in athletes undergoing “intensive endurance exercise, which may contribute to its effect in relieving athletic fatigue.”

 

  • A Taiwanese study (readable here) compared groups of elite athletes using acupuncture to a placebo and found that, 

Auricular acupuncture (AA) can enhance athletes' recovery after strenuous exercise . . . Twenty-four elite male university basketball players were randomly divided into two groups; one received AA, and the other acted as a normal control group. All subjects in both groups then rode a stationary bike to exhaustion. The results showed that both maximum heart rate and blood lactic acid concentrations were significantly lower in the AA group, compared with the control group, at 30 and 60 minutes post-exercise. 

 

Yahoo News, and writer Jeanne Rose published a piece entitled, Three Health Benefits an Athlete Can Gain from Acupuncture in which the author gives a whirlwind overview of reasons that professional or amateur athletes might seek acupuncture intervention. A large excerpt from her article:

 

 

Here are three of the best health benefits that an athlete can gain from acupuncture therapy, which can improve his or her performance on the field.
Can Relieve Muscle or Joint Pain

If an athlete is suffering from muscle or joint pain, he or she might decide to try acupuncture, since it can relieve these symptoms. Acupuncture has long been used to treat all sorts of pain, which can include pain coming from the muscles and joints. An athlete might have muscle or joint pain as the result of an injury, which can hinder his or her athletic ability. Acupuncture can help reduce the inflammation associated with the injury, and it can help treat the source of the pain or inflammation. If an athlete regularly participates in sports, then acupuncture therapy might help prevent pain or inflammation from starting in the first place. Acupuncture can help with spasms in the muscles, contusions under the skin, arthritis, osteoporosis, and a variety of different conditions that cause muscle or joint pain.
Can Ease Stress or Anxiety

An athlete that is suffering a lot from stress or anxiety should try acupuncture therapy, because acupuncture can basically eliminate stress or anxiety. Acupuncture helps unblock various energy channels within the body, which can eliminate stress or anxiety. An athlete is likely to become stressed or anxious at some point during his or her sport, especially right before an upcoming game. If an athlete is under too much stress, then he or she will likely perform poorly during the competition, and he or she is also more prone to injuries. An athlete that is always anxious is also more likely to suffer injury, since anxiety can hinder his or her concentration. Acupuncture is a great way to help an athlete overcome anxiety or stress related to his or her sport, and can help improve his or her overall mentality. Stress or anxiety can also cause an athlete to become depressed or feel worthless, so it is important that he or she treat these symptoms promptly.
Can Improve Circulation and Promote Healing

Acupuncture can also improve circulation, which can help speed up the healing process, and this is a huge benefit for an athlete. If an athlete has suffered an injury, which is bound to occur sooner or later, he or she will want to recover as fast as possible. Poor circulation throughout the body can hinder healing, because oxygenated blood is what helps repair damaged cells. If an athlete is trying to recover from an injury, then he or she will likely want to do everything possible to increase the circulation throughout the body. Acupuncture can help move blood throughout the body, which means that oxygenated blood is getting to vital organs to help promote healing. Since acupuncture can help reduce pain or inflammation, an athlete will heal faster because he or she will not suffer from muscle spasms as often. Acupuncture can help release and regulate hormones, which are important for healing, and endorphins will naturally be released within the body to also promote healing.

Here are three of the best health benefits that an athlete can gain from acupuncture therapy, which can improve his or her performance on the field.

 

Here are three of the best health benefits that an athlete can gain from acupuncture therapy, which can improve his or her performance on the field.Can Relieve Muscle or Joint PainIf an athlete is suffering from muscle or joint pain, he or she might decide to try acupuncture, since it can relieve these symptoms. Acupuncture has long been used to treat all sorts of pain, which can include pain coming from the muscles and joints. An athlete might have muscle or joint pain as the result of an injury, which can hinder his or her athletic ability. Acupuncture can help reduce the inflammation associated with the injury, and it can help treat the source of the pain or inflammation. If an athlete regularly participates in sports, then acupuncture therapy might help prevent pain or inflammation from starting in the first place. Acupuncture can help with spasms in the muscles, contusions under the skin, arthritis, osteoporosis, and a variety of different conditions that cause muscle or joint pain.An athlete that is suffering a lot from stress or anxiety should try acupuncture therapy, because acupuncture can basically eliminate stress or anxiety. Acupuncture helps unblock various energy channels within the body, which can eliminate stress or anxiety. An athlete is likely to become stressed or anxious at some point during his or her sport, especially right before an upcoming game. If an athlete is under too much stress, then he or she will likely perform poorly during the competition, and he or she is also more prone to injuries. An athlete that is always anxious is also more likely to suffer injury, since anxiety can hinder his or her concentration. Acupuncture is a great way to help an athlete overcome anxiety or stress related to his or her sport, and can help improve his or her overall mentality. Stress or anxiety can also cause an athlete to become depressed or feel worthless, so it is important that he or she treat these symptoms promptly.Can Improve Circulation and Promote HealingAcupuncture can also improve circulation, which can help speed up the healing process, and this is a huge benefit for an athlete. If an athlete has suffered an injury, which is bound to occur sooner or later, he or she will want to recover as fast as possible. Poor circulation throughout the body can hinder healing, because oxygenated blood is what helps repair damaged cells. If an athlete is trying to recover from an injury, then he or she will likely want to do everything possible to increase the circulation throughout the body. Acupuncture can help move blood throughout the body, which means that oxygenated blood is getting to vital organs to help promote healing. Since acupuncture can help reduce pain or inflammation, an athlete will heal faster because he or she will not suffer from muscle spasms as often. Acupuncture can help release and regulate hormones, which are important for healing, and endorphins will naturally be released within the body to also promote healing.

 

Researchers from Japan have found that acupuncture inhibits muscular atrophy in the elderly, leading to potential benefits for the aged, as well as anyone immobilized by disease or injury. An article about this study can be read here.

 

A team of researchers from Japan have found that acupuncture therapy may benefit the elderly and patients who suffer from poor mobility due to loss of skeletal muscle mass, a condition known as skeletal muscle atrophy. Muscle atrophy is common in the elderly and patients who go through extended periods of inactivity, such as when a limb is put in a cast or being bed-ridden due to a prolonged illness. The condition can also be caused by many diseases such as cancer and liver failure.

Although interventions such as exercise and an improved diet are recommended, these are challenging to maintain as patients are often frail and have severe medical conditions.

The study, which was presented last week at the Experimental Biology 2012 meeting in San Diego, the team found that acupuncture can reverse muscle mass loss. Their findings also suggest a molecular mechanism for this effect.

“The main focus of this study is changes in the mRNA expression levels of muscle-specific atrophic genes such as atrogin-1,” said Onda.

They found that mRNA expression level of the E3 ubiquitin ligase atrogin-1 is lowered when muscle mass is loss, and this decrease is significantly reversed by acupuncture.

Onda hopes that her team’s findings will help pave the way for acupuncture to be recognized as an efficacious treatment for muscle atrophy. “Further investigations into its molecular mechanisms will help to decrease the medical community’s suspicion of acupuncture and provide us with a better understanding of how acupuncture treatment prevents skeletal muscle atrophy,” said Onda.