I’ve been watching the athletes in London go for gold and have been amazed by their speed, strength and grace. When I watch, I must admit that I take a special interest in their training regimens, the way they treat an injury or favor a sprain...I’m interested in how they take care of their greatest athletic resource - their bodies.
In reading about this year’s Olympic athletes, I’ve found that many of them are using Traditional Chinese Medicine (or TCM) and acupuncture to prepare, train and compete. This includes athletes from all over the world - the US, Japan, China, Australia, the UK and South Korea.
The Japanese triathlon team swears by it and an interesting article in The Examiner gives even more insight into their approach:
“If an athlete feels pain, we use acupuncture as first aid,” explains Minoru Yajima, medical advisor and physiotherapist for Japan’s Triathlon team. Most of Team Japan’s medal winning medical strategy is preventative and based on a time tested Japanese tradition – shiatsu massage.
USA’s own wonder gymnast McKayla Maroney has been using it to treat a broken toe, according to NPR. Also, numerous track and field athletes have traveled to the Olympics with their acupuncturists, including US runner Dee Dee Trotter. US pole vaulter Jeremy Scott uses acupuncture in his treatment regimen for a knee injury and track and field competitor Amy Acuff is not only a five-time Olympian, but a licensed acupuncturist herself!
Now, I know that we are not all Olympic athletes and we may not be making it to the next summer games in Rio de Janeiro (as competitors, anyway), but it is interesting to see the world’s elite sportsmen and women employing more and more traditional Chinese medicine treatments and acupuncture. If this trend continues, I expect that I will be working with an even greater number of local athletes, runners, cyclists and even just ‘weekend warriors’ in the years to come.
Long live (healthy) sport!
Sharon Sherman is the owner of Empirical Point Acupuncture in Chestnut Hill.