Enhance sporting performance with TCM
10 June 2014
Musculo-skeletal medicine in China has a long and rich history which today, encompassing sports medicine, has become one of the major specialty areas of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM).
Through its various techniques, TCM has long demonstrated the ability to accelerate the repair of damaged tissue. This includes fractured bones, stretched or torn ligaments, stressed tendons and joints, and muscle tears.
In the case of an acute physical injury, acupuncture treatment aims to bring about a faster reduction of inflammation, swelling and pain than can be achieved through techniques like RICE (rest, ice, compression and elevation) alone.
Once local inflammation has largely subsided, the treatment focus then shifts to improving microcirculation to the damaged tissue. This helps to disperse stagnant blood at the site and allows access for fresh healing blood. The better the circulation to an injured area, the faster it will heal.
Aside from “rescue” treatments associated with recovery from acute injury, Chinese medicine can also be incorporated into your training program. Routine treatment serves to reduce recovery times, promote strength and stamina, keep limbs supple and prevent fatigue. It also allows you to nip any issues in the bud.
Such a treatment plan is particularly useful in the weeks approaching a big event, be it a sporting meet, a trekking holiday, or your local fun run. It is at these times of increased training intensity that it is wise to add an element of support to your regime – Yin to the Yang.
Chinese medicine, particularly Chinese herbs, can also be a huge help when you find that you have “hit a wall” in your training. This situation is common with runners and weight lifters when they find that training no longer takes them to new heights but rather leaves them depleted and prone to injury. Treatment at this point offers support and provides the needed boost to move forward to the next level.
In sports medicine, varying combinations of acupuncture and herbs are used depending on the problem. Generally treatments are of short duration – potentially just a few weeks, but the key is always to treat early. Early intervention will drastically reduce your recovery time and prevent the problem from becoming a more stubborn issue further down the track.