Acupuncture for Runners
More than half of all runners, recreational and elite, find themselves injured at some point during the year. Often the injury will heal itself with a little time off or with modified training plans, other injuries are more serious and require not running for long periods of time. Whether you’re chasing Olympic gold, a personal best, or just a few moments of peace, a plan that involves not running is one most runners don’t want to consider. This is usually the time a runner will seek out alternative treatments such as acupuncture.
Acupuncture can help runners in five major ways: correct muscle imbalances, strengthen your immune system, accelerating healing and recovery, protect against chronic stress, and improve sleep.
- Strengthens Your Immune System
Research shows that during periods of heavy training, your risk of acquiring an upper respiratory tract infection increases. According to the National Cancer Institute, acupuncture may help your body fight off infections by enhancing white blood cell activity. The key is to get treatments before you get sick, such as every two weeks during marathon training.
- Corrects Muscle Imbalances
When muscles are imbalanced, they can trigger a chain reaction resulting in muscle, joint and tendon pain. To correct these imbalances, acupuncturists can insert needles into motor points as well as specific acupuncture points to release tight segments of myofascial tissues—the membranes that surround and connect your muscles. When you balance the muscles, you decrease the stress on irritated areas.
- Accelerates Healing And Recovery
Clinical studies have amply documented that acupuncture improves blood circulation. Because of the healing and growth factors in the blood, anything you can do to increase the amount of blood flow to an injured area, the better off it is. Acupuncture is especially helpful for healing tendons and ligaments, which have been shown to have 7 percent less blood flow than muscles.
- Protects Against Chronic Stress
Chronic stress undermines performance and wreaks havoc on our health. Recently, a team of Georgetown University researchers showed that acupuncture provides some resilience against chronic stress. In a series of animal studies, they found that acupuncture not only suppressed stress-related hormonal changes, but that the treatment’s effects lasted for four days. “Four days is quite long if you think of the effects of drugs, for example,” Dr. Ladan Eshkevari, who led the study, says. “Most drugs only last hours, not days.”
- Improves Sleep
Recent clinical studies show that acupuncture promotes quality sleep, which runners know is critical to running strong, recovering well and preventing illness. Unfortunately, the CDC reports that nearly 10 percent of Americans suffer from chronic insomnia. The reasons for poor sleep are different for every person, which is why acupuncture is so effective in treating it. Acupuncture can address the root causes imbalances that lead to sleep issues.
At our office, Integrative Acupuncture in Montpelier and Williston, we treat runners of all shapes, sizes and skill levels. The most common running injuries that we treat are plantar fasciitis, IT band syndrome, piriformis syndrome aka sciatica pain, Achilles tendonitis, patellar tendoinitis, shin splints and tight sore or strained muscles. We’ll do our best to be your partner and help get you back to doing the things you love to do!