The 2012 summer Olympics are over in London. I hope you had a chance to watch these great athletes perform. I found it interesting to note how many athletes and countries are using acupuncture and traditional Chinese medicine in their training. It’s not only China and Japan that are using acupuncture; the United States, Australia, and South Korea are also encouraging acupuncture treatments for their athletes. Acupuncture is becoming a popular treatment for injury rehabilitation, pain prevention, and overall physical maintenance in top athletes.
Here are a few of the Olympic athletes who use acupuncture in their training programs.
McKayla Maroney is a gymnast for the United States. She used acupuncture after breaking a toe several times before the Olympics. She also used electric stimulation and lots of icing.
Jeremy Scott is a pole vaulter for the United States. He believes that acupuncture in his wellness and maintenance routine helped him at the Olympic trials and he continued to use it for the reduction of knee pain during competition.
Kim Yeon-koung is a volleyball player from South Korea. She finds that acupuncture helps her recover faster than physical therapy.
Park Jung-geu plays men’s handball for South Korea. He also finds that acupuncture requires fewer treatments than with physical therapy.
The Japanese Olympic team uses acupuncture as first aid when an athlete feels pain. They also use physical therapy, shiatsu massage, and chiropractic care.
Sports acupuncture focuses on orthopedics. There are over 2,000 sports acupuncture points on the human body. In Japanese acupuncture, these are referred to as ‘Ahshi’ or ‘ouch’ points. In Western medicine, they are often called Trigger points. They are usually found where muscles attach to the bones. These points become stretched and stressed during physical exertion and they then become painful. These acupuncture points connect with the 14 major pathways or meridians of regular acupuncture. Sports acupuncture is used to help keep the normal flow of energy in the body unblocked. When there are blockages in the meridians and the flow of qi is inhibited, the person’s health is compromised and pain or illness can result. Sports acupuncture can help athletes with muscle pain and tendinitis, as well as over-use injuries of the ankle, knee, lower back, shoulder, and elbow. It can help with all examples of common sports injuries, such as: shin splints for joggers, tennis elbow for tennis players, golf elbow for golfers, and knee pain for skiers. The recovery time depends on the injury and whether it is a chronic or recent pain. Usually after 3 sessions of acupuncture the pain and stiffness have subsided considerably.
As you can see, acupuncture is valuable for world-class athletes, but is also an integral part of health care for everyone who enjoys playing sports.

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