The Benefits of Acupuncture for Runners
With relatively recent increases in popularity—certain reports reveal that more than 3 million Americans use it each year—the benefits of acupuncture are becoming more and more well known. Acupuncture therapy is a practice that involves the insertion of small, fine needles at specific points, or acupoints. These points are believed to aid in the body’s overall healing process when stimulated.
Acupuncture carries a number of benefits for everyone, but particularly for athletes and runners. In fact, acupuncture for runners is a growing trend amongst seasoned marathon runners, amateurs, and novices alike. This is likely because it can be used both for specific injury treatment and overall health. Check out some of the main benefits of acupuncture for runners below!
Acupuncture Promotes Accelerated Recovery
Acupuncture has been clinically proven to improve circulation. Increased blood flow to muscles and tissue leads, in turn, to faster healing and shorter recovery times. Acupuncture is especially helpful when it comes to increasing blood flow to ligaments and tendons, making it particularly beneficial for some of the most common runners’ injuries, including overexertion, strained muscles, and minor tears.
It Can Also Prevent Injury
Acupuncture doesn’t just speed up the healing and recovery process; runners can actually use it to prevent injuries. As any serious runner knows, running takes a major toll on the body. Extended training can lead to back and hip issues, as well as stress on the major leg muscles. By promoting blood flow, joint relief, and muscle relaxation with regular acupuncture therapy, muscles will be more primed for training and less likely to experience overuse and other types of injuries.
Acupuncture Can Rebalance Muscles
Extensive running can lead to muscle imbalances or opposing tension in the muscles surrounding a joint. This can, in turn, lead to straining of nearby muscles as runners instinctively compensate by putting more stress on the nearby muscles. Regular acupuncture therapy can help correct imbalances and rebalance muscles by relieving tension in the membranes around muscles (called myofascial tissues).
Strengthen Your Immune System with Acupuncture
Acupuncture has long been hailed for its holistic healing benefits, one of which includes a strengthened immune system. Because running put stress on the body, runners often find themselves more susceptible to illness, particularly respiratory illnesses and infections. Research has shown that regular acupuncture can help stave off infections by promoting increased white blood cell flow. This is generally most effective when runners receive an acupuncture treatment before getting sick, though, in some cases, post-illness acupuncture may speed up recovery.
It Can Reduce Chronic Stress & Promote Healthy Sleep
One of the most widely felt benefits of acupuncture is relaxation. Improved blood flow leads to more relaxed muscles, less pain, and fewer instances of illness. All of these things, along with other factors, can lead to increased production of stress hormones, which can affect everything from training to getting a good night’s rest. Acupuncture has been shown in some studies to suppress stress-related hormones for up to four days—much longer than typical stress-relieving drugs. Less stress often correlates with better sleep, both of which are crucial for runners… and for everyone.
Learn more about how acupuncture can benefit runners. Call Valencia Sports Medicine at (661) 490-9221 today!