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Sports Injury


Girl Running

​About Sports Injury

Sports injuries are common and vary from minor toe injuries to major complex trauma. Usually, only soft tissue is damaged, but there can also be a fracturing of bone. Soft tissue injuries include sprains, strains, and bruising. A sprain is a partial or complete rupture of a ligament, a strain is a partial tear of muscles and a bruise is a rupture of tissue leading to a hematoma. Any soft-tissue injury can lead to tenderness, swelling, hematoma, scarring, fibrosis, and loss of function.


There is also positive evidence from individual randomized controlled trials, showing that:

Acupuncture reduced pain in patients with plantar fasciitis (Zhang 2001);

Electroacupuncture had better therapeutic effects than medication, both in the short and long term, in patients with the acute lumbar strain (Yao-chi 2007);

Acupuncture plus warmed needle relieved the pain of chondromalacia patella (Qui 2006);

Acupuncture reduced NSAID intake and relieving pain in patients with shin splints (Callison 2002);

Acupuncture reduced the pain of patellofemoral pain syndromes (Jensen 1999);

Acupuncture was effective for soft tissue disease (Yuan 1989).

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Cupping is a modality of traditional Chinese medicine in which glass cups are suctioned to the skin using heat to create a vacuum. This therapy helps to eliminate toxins, relieve congestion, improve circulation and relieve muscle tension. 

Cupping feels like a reverse massage, using suction rather than pressure to relax the muscles. The heat and suction also work to bring fresh blood to a pain area and release blockages there. It is useful for back, neck, and shoulder pain, and sciatica.

So to wrap up, cupping can help you overcome old and new injury by:

  1. Increasing circulation

  2. Increasing oxygenation and tissue delivery

  3. Remove old stagnant blood

  4. Cause micro trauma and beneficial inflammation

  5. Create new blood vessels

  6. Stretch fascia and connective tissue.

Cupping is helpful when used in conjunction with joint manipulation and dry needling. Cupping, like many holistic techniques, works at different rates for different people

Chinese Herbal Medicine

Probably the most common complaint amongst sportsmen – amateur, professional, and especially the occasional athlete – is sore muscles.


While many reaches for commercial muscle rubs, we recommend Chinese herbal preparations like Tiger Balm or Wong To Yick Wood Lock oil, especially since it is so easy to make yourself. Sore muscles are due to slight tears in the muscle tissue. In my experience, the Chinese herbal balms / Oil seem to go deeper and aid in healing as well as offering relief from muscle pain and stiffness.

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While acupuncture and Chinese medicine can help with acute and chronic conditions, it is important to consult with a licensed physician for orthopedic conditions to rule out any fractures or severe muscle tears that may require medical intervention.  For serious injuries, seek medical care immediately.

The stages mentioned above don’t look the same for everyone.  Before trying any topical or internal herbal formulas for sports injuries, it is important to consult with a licensed acupuncturist and board certified herbalist to make sure that the treatment is appropriate for your condition.  There are instances where certain herbs may be contraindicated if they are not appropriate for your individual case.

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