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Acupuncture & Chinese Medicine Treatments for Sports Injury

​About Sports Injury

Sports injuries are common and vary from minor toe injuries to major complex trauma. Usually, only soft tissue is damaged, but bone can also be fractured. 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.

​Acupuncture for Sports Injury

Acupuncture is a valuable therapeutic option for athletes and active individuals seeking relief from sports injuries and enhanced recovery. This ancient healing practice, rooted in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), offers a holistic approach to addressing sports injuries by stimulating the body's natural healing processes and restoring balance to the affected areas.

One of the primary benefits of acupuncture for sports injuries is its ability to provide pain relief. By inserting fine needles at specific points on the body, acupuncture can stimulate the release of endorphins, the body's natural painkillers, which help to reduce pain and inflammation. Additionally, acupuncture can improve local blood circulation, which in turn promotes the delivery of oxygen and nutrients to the injured tissues, accelerating the healing process. Furthermore, acupuncture can help to relax tense muscles and alleviate muscle spasms, which are common in sports injuries.

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

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