Sports and physical activities whether participated as competitions, casual routines or social events include many forms, such as dancing, football, basketball, swimming, cycling, hiking etc. Sports are beneficial to improve body strength, enhance physical endurance, release bodily stress, and burn calories efficiently. However, in case if individuals neglect the warm-up steps, over-train or have accidents, it is likely to get injury during the course of game or exercise session, individuals may then suffer from problems such as muscle pain, sprains, tears, and chronic strain of the ligament.
Overuse sports injuries are not uncommon, due to the repetitive actions of muscles and tendons, the involved area will become inflamed and painful. The healing and rehabilitation processes should be carefully evaluated so as to minimize the amount of downtime required.
Chinese medicine massage or acupuncture can be part of sports training and recovery management. The Chinese remedies help relieve muscle pain, loosen intense muscles, reduce tissue adhesion, accelerate the return of peripheral blood and lymph, alleviate swelling in the damaged area, speed up tissue repair and rebuild, and restore ligament alignment. Chinese methods can help athletes to speed up the recovery process and allows their body to replenish energy stores for optimal sports performance.
MASSAGE FOR SPORT
Sports massage works deep in the muscles that aim to realign the muscle fibers and connective tissues, and make the biological process of body recovery more efficient. Sports massage brings numerous benefits to sports people, covering physical, physiological and psychological aspects. Regular sports massage sessions help muscles repair, rebuild, and strengthen, increase joint mobility and flexibility, maximize sports performance and reduce the risk of injury during activities.
This usually performs 15 minutes before the exercise or training. Massage with light push and slow kneading techniques for 5-10 minutes can increase blood circulation in the muscles, stimulate the body to be allowed for intensive motions, enhance muscle endurance and ligament flexibility, and increase joint mobility as well. It can maximize performance during the event and reduce the risk of injury, while also help the athletes to reduce anxiety.
Massage in middle of exercise
Massage is performed between the intervals of training session or competition, aimed at the heavy loaded muscle groups. The manipulation usually begins with light and rapid techniques, and then changes to forceful kneading, striking or padding techniques, last for 1-3 minutes. This helps to eliminate stiffness and fatigue in the muscles.
This usually takes place 1-2 hours after exercise or before sleeping. Post-exercise massage can accelerate the elimination of lactic acid (a metabolite that causes fatigue and soreness). It has proved that post-exercise massage can cool down the athletes after strenuous exercise, eliminate fatigue and promote the regain of physical strength. It also significantly shortens the duration of muscle soreness after exercise and reduces the painful sensation.
EFFECT OF ACUPUNCTURE IN SPORT
Acupuncture method belongs to physical stimulation, which creates a cascade of positive changes inside the body to promote physiological functions, enhance self-regulation and encourage the body’s self-healing abilities. Acupuncture is an effective, personalized, non-pharmaceutical and non-invasive form of healing, which is excellent for athletes to apply for their training and recovery routine.
Strenuous exercise will cause an increase in the production of endogenous free radicals and lipid peroxides, and a decrease in the level of blood ketones, resulting in a decline of sports ability. Acupuncture can be applied to improve the body’s antioxidant capacity, scavenge free radicals, and prevent the blood ketone levels from declining during exercise, so as to maintain sport ability.
After a high-level performance, the immunity of athletes will be declined and that would increase their chances of getting sick. Researches have shown that acupuncture can increase the number of white blood cells, promote the productions of antibody, so as to enhance the body’s immune function.
Acupuncture can also increase the levels of blood sugar and hemoglobin (indicators of exercise fatigue), which can help eliminate fatigue.
Long-term repetitive actions or over-training will result in painful conditions. Many scientific evidences have supported that acupuncture can relieve a variety of sport related painful conditions, including “neuropathic pain” and “nociceptive pain”.
Sports injury will lead to a period of downtime to athletes, making them unable to participate in training and competition. In severe cases, when their mobility is affected, a great pressure will be created on their psychological and physiological aspects. Acupuncture has the effects of resolving stasis, dispersing swelling, anti-inflammatory and arresting pain, which can effectively promote tissue recovery and restore functionality of injured parts.
Continuous and intense physical activities along with mental stress can easily make athletes can’t sleep at night, which is not favorable to their body recovery and hinder sports performance. Acupuncture can achieve a calming effect on the nerves and mind, relieve muscle soreness and thus effectively prevent insomnia after strenuous exercise.
In order to achieve the best results, it is necessary for athletes to maintain in optimal body weight and follow some stringent dietary restrictions. Acupuncture can be used to reduce appetite, promote energy consumption, and improve basal metabolic rate, which help athletes to control their body weight.