Sporting Injuries and TCM

Updated: May 9




What is pain?


In Traditional Chinese Medicine pain as a result of sporting injuries is a result of stagnation - a lack of free flow of Qi (energy) and blood-in the injured area. 


The concept of pain in Chinese sports medicine is succinctly explained in the following equation:


Pain = lack of free flow of Qi and/or blood (stagnation)


How does acupuncture assist with sport injuries?


Acupuncture stimulates your body to heal itself. It encourages your blood and Qi to circulate freely so that injured tissues get fresh nutrients needed to heal, it helps remove dead cells and toxins that slow healing, and it helps moderate inflammation.

Acupuncture treatments help to reduce swelling, relieve pain, improve mobility and hasten recovery from sporting injuries.


In the treatment of sports injuries, acupuncture works on two different levels. On one level, it works on the local area of injury by increasing blood circulation and attracting a healing response to where the needles are placed. The local increase in blood circulation has the effect of reducing healing time and aiding in the dispersal of swelling and bruising. In addition, an increase in the number of white blood cells and biochemicals in the area speed up the healing rate of soft tissue as well as reduce pain.


A whole – body view of injury.

Get back on track sooner with acupuncture

Acupuncture also works on the whole body to treat sports injuries as well as increase performance. It causes the body's nervous system to release a variety of chemicals, including endorphins, serotonin, and neurotransmitters, which aid in the healing process by reducing pain and promoting relaxation.


Additionally, the relaxation effects of acupuncture can reduce anxiety and help alleviate some of the mental barriers that athletes experience which might hinder performance.


Here are 7 benefits you may receive by alleviating sports injuries with acupuncture: 


1. Quicker recuperation rates

2. Exercise becomes much easier

3. Better moods because of less pain

4. Increased flexibility

5. Better fitness

6. Endurance improves

7. Revitalised


The use of acupuncture to impact on a patient experience of pain is well supported for many conditions.  Read more about other benefits of acupuncture and TCM for pain on our Health Areas of Interest Page.


Types of treatment available


Acupuncture is only one aspect of Traditional Chinese Medicine. When treating sporting injuries it is likely that Scott will incorporate many additional TCM treatments which can be extremely effective to move stagnant Qi and relieve inflammation and pain.


Some of the more common treatments for pain related to injury are:

Moxabustion - this is a gentle herbal heat therapy. The smouldering herb mugwort is applied either directly or indirectly to the acupuncture points to warm the area and stimulate the flow of Qi and blood.

Cupping -  During cupping glass or silicone suction cups are applied to tight muscle groups stimulating localised blood flow. This action has the combined affect of softening tight muscle areas and also aiding the release of accumulated toxins. 


Gua Sha / Tui Na - These are both Chinese styles of deep tissue massage. Tui Na can also be booked independently of Acupuncture or as a focused treatment. The skin is stimulated by use of scraping and rubbing. Often Gua Sha will include the use of a variety of tools. These TCM techniques are excellent in the support of injury recovery due to their ability to promote circulation, release toxins and resolve stagnation. Learn more by reading our blog 'Discovering Tui Na'


Herbal Medicine - This may be in the form of herbal lineaments or patches that will support ongoing injury recovery and prevention. Or may even include Chinese Dietary advice and herbal formulas where relevant.


Cupping is an additional therapy that can be extremely useful for Sporting Injury

If you would like to chat with Scott about how he can help get you back doing what you love get in touch for a FREE 15 min Health Assessment or you can call us at the clinic (03)59061494