Acupuncture for runners has become a popular tool for recovering after long runs or intense workouts. Acupuncture can reduce soreness for runners and is also used to treat pain and injury, often speeding up the healing process.
During recovery, acupuncture promotes increased blood flow to a targeted area. This stimulates healing as your body reacts to the insertion of needles much like a histamine response. This encourages tight, stubborn muscular restrictions in the body to release. Acupuncture during recovery enables to the body to refocus on healing instead of painful movements that come from injuries or underlying biomechanical issues.
Be mindful of what your body is experiencing, cautions Aligned Modern Health’s acupuncturist, Dr. Lamya Kamel. Tight muscles due to over training and improper stretching can be a major cause of injury for runners.
Common injuries and symptoms to watch out for include:
1) Runner’s knee, which is indicated with tender pain around and/or behind the knee cap.
2) Stress fractures that cause pain in the shins and feet.
3) Shin splints, indicated by shooting pain along the tibia.
4) Achilles tendinitis, which is inflammation of the Achilles tendon.
5) Pulled muscles.
Runners who wait until they experience pain to try acupuncture may be missing out on the routine benefits that many elite runners gain from using acupuncture during training and recovery. While runners find that acupuncture reduces inflammation and pain without any lasting side effects, it also increasing oxygen levels in the body, restores the body’s natural balance, reduces anxiety and tension, and improves sleep and energy.
If you are concerned about making acupuncture an accessible part of recovery, keep in mind that complementary medicine and preventative healthcare is on the rise. As a result, more Americans are seeing their insurance companies support integrative medicine options like acupuncture. Flexible spending accounts are also a great way to include acupuncture in your care routine.
And no need to fear. Pre-acupuncture, you may be curious about what the needles feel like. If you’re wondering, will they hurt? The answer is, No. You may feel a slight awareness when the needle is inserted, but it won’t be what you think. Due to the incredibly small size of the needle, it’s highly unlikely you will feel any pain. In fact, most patients report having a very calming, relaxing (zen-like) experience.
To learn more about recovery options and performance enhancing natural therapies, give us a call or schedule a complimentary consultation with a team member of Aligned Modern Health’s Physical Medicine and Acupuncture team.