Photo by Yume Photo
Acupuncture is a great way to treat common running injuries. Many runners have suffered the wrath of sore muscles, the ever-common "runners knee" (also known as patellofemoral syndrome or chondromalacia), and hip or ankle injuries. These annoying and painful injuries put a screeching halt to training, and it's not what you want when the goal is a marathon in a month. Instead of taking handfuls of Ibuprofen, I recommend Traditional Chinese Medicine to help with the pain and speed up recovery.
By using specific needles in points surrounding the area of pain, acupuncture can help you get back on the road (or trail) sooner than you think. There are also needle techniques that can ease pain by using the "opposite" part of the body. For example, if you have pain in your right knee, a practitioner may use needles in your left elbow (It works, you'll just have to trust me. Or read this excerpt from altmd.com):
In Tung style acupuncture, distal points on the limbs are needled that can balance the Qi of the entire body. This technique is achieved though an imaging of the entire body onto the limbs, ear, and scalp. Acupuncture points on the chest and back were also used with bleeding techniques for specific conditions. Tung Style Acupuncture is growing in popularity and is considered highly-effective; however, finding a properly-trained practitioner can be difficult due to the limited transmission of knowledge from close teacher – student lines. Master Tung’s system of acupuncture is also referred to as Master Tong acupuncture or Tung’s Orthodox Acupuncture.
There are also inexpensive and wonderful plasters that Traditional Chinese medicine offers, such as Wu Yang and Yunnann Bai Yao. These plasters help move the blood that is creating stagnation in the area of the pain. Regular massages, such as Tuina treatments, can also help your injuries. Many local acupuncturists practice Tuina techniques (see previous post) for injuries, but be sure to call and ask specifically if the acupuncturist has been trained in Tuina. Local acupuncture schools, such as the OCOM clinic, offer a full treatment of Tuina massage. Moving the energy and blood sufficiently by a combination of acupuncture, herbal treatment and massage will have you back on the road (or trail) sooner that you think.
By balancing the energy in the body, acupuncture also helps runners sleep better to repair their bodies during rigorous training. It doesn't matter if you are training for the Ironman or trying your first 5k- acupuncture will help you recover from minor injuries as long as you are you are treated on a regular basis. Happy training, and be sure to stay hydrated in this hot Portland weather!