Running is an activity that supports mental and physical health. As with any physical activity, injuries can happen. When it comes to runners, things like sprains, strains, aches and pains are all too common, especially in the ankles, knees and legs. For minor running induced pain, rest, topical application of ointments and hands on therapy is suffice to relieve the pain. However plantar fasciitis, runner’s knee and sciatica are chronic conditions that can take more than rest and minimal care to correct. This is where acupuncture comes in. Acupuncture involves inserting hair-thin needles into the skin at specific points, which when stimulated, promote the body’s natural ability to heal itself.
Here is a list of Seven Ways that Acupuncture Helps Heal Running Injuries
- Reduces Inflammation Inflammation is common to running injuries. Inflammation is typically caused by trauma or repetitive motion to the area. Inflammation occurs when cortisol levels are elevated and studies show that acupuncture can decrease cortisol levels very effectively, thus decreasing inflammation.
- Decreases Swelling Swelling is another common symptom of running injuries. It occurs when increased movement of fluid and white blood cells rush to the area that is inflamed. The swelling can remain for several days. But specific acupuncture points can actually help decrease the swelling, restoring proper fluid circulation to the injured area, also decreasing the time it takes to heal.
- Promotes Circulation When the injured area is swollen and inflamed, proper circulation of blood and other bodily fluids will be limited. Specific acupoints have been shown to increase circulation throughout the body and by placing needles around the affected area, it signals the body to send healing to that targeted area.
- Corrects Muscle Imbalances When muscles become imbalanced, they can cause a chain reaction that results in muscle, tendon and joint pain. By utilizing motor points in the affected muscles, a release is elicited and the muscle can return to its correct position, which decreases stress on the injured area.
- Improves Sleep For runners, with or without injuries, sleep is vital. In order to be strong as a runner, the body needs time to heal in between each run. The CDC reports that nearly 10 percent of all Americans suffer from chronic insomnia and this includes runners. Regular acupuncture care helps the runner get the quality sleep they need.
- Relieves Pain Runners tend to be very health conscious and are happy to find acupuncture a very effective and drug-free way to relieve pain. The World Health Organization has a multiple of studies that endorse acupuncture for all types of pain relief.
- Relieves Stress Mental and emotional stress relief is inherent in the participation of running and in any a physically demanding exercise. Acupuncture offers a similar feeling of stress relief without the run as acupuncture has been proven to support endorphin release resulting in the natural calming “acupuncture high” similar to the “runners high”.
If you’re one of the many weekend warriors and backyard athletes that use running as your release, then having a licensed acupuncturist on speed dial, might be a great way for you to stay healthy. Give it a try. You might be pleasantly surprised how amazing you feel in as little as one to two treatments. And while most runners seek out acupuncture as a way to treat an ache, pain or injury, many find that regular acupuncture treatments can actually improve their running by restoring balance and energy throughout the body.