What is Sports and Orthopedic Acupuncture?
Sports and Orthopedic acupuncture is a cutting edge approach used to treat sports injuries and orthopedic disorders. It combines the biomedical understanding of motor points and trigger points with the ancient medical system of acupuncture. Motor points are usually found at the mid section of mucsles and have the greatest neural potential. Trigger points often indicate pain referral. Traditional Chinese medical points correspond to the flow of the body meridians and are powerful in resolving disorders throughout the whole body. Internal and external herbal applications can also be applied.
Presently, many professional athletes receive acupuncture to enhance their performance. Treatments have been shown to:
How does Sports Acupuncture work?
Acupuncture restores muscle blance and integrity quickly and safely. Because the human body is an intricate interplay of opposing muscles, any tightness, pain, contusion, or weakness will negatively alter proper function and range of motion - thus predisposing one to injury. Sports acupuncture, through the correct needling of anatomically specific motor points and trigger points, is a unique treatment than can instantly relax tight muscles or strengthen weak muscles to re-establishing symmetry to the body.
Most people who seek out acupuncture are looking for relief from pain. Pain due to everyday stress, incorrect ergonomics and injury can be treated using orthopedic acupuncture. It is an effective way to manage and treat musculo-skeletal problems.
What is a motor point?
A motor point is a specific location in a muscle, approximately the size of a nickel, where a nerve injunction exists. A nerve injunction is an area with a very high concentration of nerve endings. It is the most electrically charged area within the muscle. Activating a motor point, with an acupuncture needle has the powerful effect of resetting the muscle energetically, thus returning it to its normal state. For example if a muscle is in spasm mode, the muscle will become released and relaxed once the motor point is needed. On the contrary, if a muscle is weakened and flaccid, it will become re-awakened and strengthened once the motor point is needled.
A good reaction is when the muscle responds with a twitch upon needling. This means that the motor point was properly activated and the muscle was re-polarized. The muscle spasm has now been released or a weakened muscle has been "turned on". This response usually ensures a positive response to treatment.
What is a trigger point?
A trigger point is an isolated place in the muscle where pain exists or causes referred pain. In Chinese medical theory, this area of pain is called an "ah shi" point, which is a area that is tender when pressure is applied. Many factor can lead to the development of a trigger point. Acute injury, chronic overuse, wear and tear, poor posture, etc...can cause tight knots or ropy bands to develop in the muscle. The blood and energy flow are impeded thereby causing an involuntary muscle contraction and pain. Acupuncture is a superior treatment for trigger points because the body reacts to the insertion of the acupuncture needle with increased blood flow and energy to the area. The increase in blood circulation is what helps to eliminate pain, and promotes muscle relaxation and healing.
Commonly treated injuries with Sports and Orthopedic Acupuncture:
Leg and Knee:
Ankle and foot:
Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation Stretching or PNF Stretching combines passive and isometric stretching. It was originally developed as a form of rehabilitation and is excellent for
targeting specific muscle groups, and as well as increasing flexibility (and range of movement). It also improves muscular strength.
During the PNF stretching part of the treatment, your body will be placed into different positions to create the most leverage for a particular muscle or muscle group. The patient will be asked to push against a moderate amount of pressure. After each cycle, the range of motion will be increased. Patients experience significant improvements throughout the body even in in areas once limited by injury. PNF stretching is an important part of orthopedic acupuncture sessions.
Tui Na is a Chinese style of massage. It involves a combination of rubbing, pressing, rolling, pushing, grasping, kneading and spreading. Tui Na promotes blood and qi (chee) circulation throughout the body. Whole hospital wards in China are devoted to Tui Na massage.
Oriental massage techniques are used for therapeutic benefit as well as whole body balance. Many musculo-skeletal problems can be treated as well as gastrointestinal disorders. These techniques can be used alone or in concert with the other techniques described on this site.