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Acupuncture and Professional Sports

Acupuncture continues to become increasingly more utilized by Americans, and being that today is a day when most Americans are focused on football, we wanted to point your attention to an article on the rise of acupuncture in football in particular. This article, titled "Big Men, Little Needles: Acupuncture in the NFL" is from Men's Journal. It is a great look at how acupuncture helps the human body function better, how it can regulate and eliminate pain, and how it is being used by high-level athletes and everyday Americans to stay healthy and happy. We have highlighted some of the quotes below. Enjoy!

"Throughout professional sports, from football to baseball to tennis and track and field, a growing number of players are turning to acupuncture to treat injuries, cure musculoskeletal imbalances, relieve muscle tightness and pain, and alleviate dozens of non-sports-related health problems – including allergies, stress, depression, insomnia, and irritable bowel syndrome. In recent years, acupuncture has become more widely accepted by all of America, not just by pro athletes, as a way to treat sports injuries as well as more serious health concerns. Even the U.S. Army has started using acupuncture to help care for wounded combat vets in Afghanistan and Iraq. The American College of Acupuncture & Oriental Medicine estimates that nearly 20 million Americans have tried acupuncture, while the number of acupuncturists almost tripled between 2000 and 2010. There are currently 16,000 acupuncturists in the U.S."

"Not only effective in easing pain, acupuncture can also help the body overcome one of the toughest hurdles to healing: inflammation. In 2010, neuroscientists at the University of Rochester in New York found that needling muscles sends adenosine, a natural stimulant for tissue repair, to the site of punctured tissue. Other studies have shown that adenosine can reduce inflammation – the cause of many physical ailments. Acupuncture may also alleviate stress, largely thanks to the endorphins that needling releases."

"When these organs become fatigued or diseased, they send pain signals to muscles. “It’s just like when someone has left-shoulder and arm pain from heart problems,” says Dr. Evan Mladenoff, a holistic doctor and acupuncturist who, when hired by the Kansas City Chiefs in 1992, became the first-ever clubhouse acupuncturist. If a wide receiver suffers from a bad back, Mladenoff doesn’t examine only his spine; he looks to the hamstring and bladder meridian, too. Why? Because the hamstring is connected to the pelvis, and if a hamstring is tight, it pulls the pelvis forward, creating a tug on the lower spine, compressing the sciatic nerve, and causing a chronically painful back condition.The urinary bladder is also part of the same “tendinomuscular meridian” as the hamstring, meaning they share the same energy system. “If there is stagnation in that meridian, it’s going to keep blood from the hamstring,” Mladenoff says. Stagnation can also happen if you sit at a desk for eight hours. In that case, your hamstring is firing all day long, pulling your back muscles, and you need to release it, he says."

"There are also some acupuncturists who act more as therapists than as traditional doctors. This includes New York City acupuncturist Nicholas Steadman, who sees clients for conditions ranging from anxiety and insomnia to allergies, sports injuries, and low immune function." For the full article, go to:

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