Acupuncture for Runners and Recovery

Photo Credit: Martinan,

Acupuncture for runners is an increasingly popular way to approach recovery. Acupuncture, which can be used in the treatment of pain and injury, is particularly helpful in reducing the stress and soreness that comes from running.

With amazing skyline views and calming Lake Michigan in sight, it’s no wonder Chicago is one of the world’s top running cities and home to the second largest marathon in the country.
In light of the upcoming fall and winter running season, now is the perfect time to make sure you’re supporting your body to perform at it’s absolute best!
The most common running injuries according to WebMD are:
1.) Runner’s knee: Tender pain around and/or behind the knee cap.
2.) Stress fractures: A small crack in the bone that causes pain. Typically in the shins and feet.
3.) Shin splints: Shooting pain along the tibia.
4.) Achilles tendinitis: Inflammation of Achilles tendon.
5.) Pulled muscles: Small tear in the muscle.
Ice, elevation, heat therapy, and braces are some of the most common methods of treatment but, what if you could find more constant relief?
According to Mayo Clinic, acupuncture is the insertion of extremely thin needles through the skin at strategic points on the body to treat pain. Asian medicine says acupuncture balances the flow of energy or qi (pronounced CHEE) throughout the body.
While research into the effects of acupuncture on various ailments is limited, anecdotal evidence is showing to encourage runners to try the practice.
The popular running magazine Runners World has written about the topic over the years, helping to promote the idea to its readers.
But, what’s the appeal? Why are people asking about it?
Acupuncture treatments are no more expensive than a massage, and the needles are reach places that a masseuses fingers can’t touch. For those who associate needles with pain, never fear, for the acupuncturist needles are hair-thin that they avoid hitting the skin’s nerves that send messages to the brain to feel pain.
As Aligned Modern Health’s acupuncturist, Kelly Kirles explains, “Tight muscles due to over training/improper stretching can be a major cause of injury in runners. An acupuncturist can insert a needle into a specific motor point( the most electrically excitable part of the muscle) which can reset the muscular dysfunction and release the shortened muscle.”
New York-based acupuncturist Russ Stram, who has treated various marathoners, says that the goal of using acupuncture for runners it that the practice increase blood flow to the area that is causing pain, or is troublesome, and it stimulates healing.
Doctors at Mayo Clinic agree with Stram that acupuncture is meant to inspire your body to do the healing without the help of anti-flammatories, which can negatively affect other areas of your health when used too frequently. The stimulation from the needles should boost the body’s natural painkillers and increase its blood flow.
This “natural” treatment is a must try for not only runners, but athletes of all sizes looking for relief. At Aligned Modern Health we offer a wide arrange of health services, including acupuncture, to help you perform your best and heal as quickly as possibly.
Schedule a complimentary consultation with one of Aligned Modern Health’s certified acupuncturists before your next big race, today!