Acupuncture For Runners
For a little more than 2 months now I have had a very unique time experiencing Acupuncture for the 1st time in my life. Now for the disclaimers:
1. I am not afraid of needles
2. I have been skeptical about acupuncture
3. Most importantly, I was diagnosed with Asthma approx. 10 years ago and have been on various medications for it since then.
In early May my friend Kelly Brinkman had been going to Minnesota Community Acupuncture and invited me along to check it out. So off I went for my 1st visit.
The clinic is based on an Eastern treatment center, so it's communal meaning that there are lots of comfy "lazy boy" recliners to relax in during the treatment. After my initial consultation with Rob on my issues he proceeded to apply the needles in the appropriate areas. He then asked me how long I wanted to relax (sleep) and if I'd like a blanket...this is going to rock! In goes my earphones and within minutes I'm sound asleep and approx. 45:00 later my session is done.
As I mentioned above, I was diagnosed with Asthma over 10 years ago and honestly I have NEVER bought into that diagnosis. At the time I do remember have issues with my breathing, so I'm sure my airways were constricted...asthma, I doubt, but I was prescribed a steroid based inhaler and used it (not exactly as prescribed) morning and night. I've never had an asthma attack in my life or at least in my opinion, I haven't. I have however had sinus issues for what seems like forever. I would always take some sort of over the counter decongestant to be able to breathe. Constantly blowing my nose....and of course being a runner...the farmers blow! I have been tested for allergies and nothing ever came back positive.
So when Rob and later when working with Kerri and the rest of her staff, told me that acupuncture would/could greatly help with these 2 issues I decided to keep going back to get it a shot. They suggested that I come in twice a week for approx. 4 weeks and then down to once a week for maintenance...which is what I'm currently doing.
Now, for the good part after about the 2 or 3 visit:
1. I have not taken any over the counter meds for my sinus' and blowing my nose has been reduced by 90%
2. I am breathing better than I have in years!
3. Most impressive to me is that I am now down to taking my steroid inhaler once every other day now with the goal of being off of it in another month or so.
As I've gotten more into the treatments I've been reading more about Acupuncture and the benefits of it. And while I'm the 1st to say I don't understand it, I'm smart enough to say that in my case, it works. Besides the above issues I'm dealing with, being a runner I have the normal aches and pains and fatigue, and I can say that after a treatment my legs will recover faster due to the increase in blood flow to the areas.
I asked Kerri from Minnesota Community Acupuncture if she would write a brief article on the benefits to runners and you can read that below. For those of you in the Twin Cities area I highly recommend Kerri and her staff to help you out with any of your issue that might be holding you back from a great run or from achieving your new PR's.
Have a great weekend and I’ll…
See you on the roads
Acupuncture for runners
Kerri Casey, L.Ac of MN Community Acupuncture
Runners at all levels will benefit from adding acupuncture to their running program. Acupuncture stimulates the immune function for maintaining general health, it is very effective in relaxing the muscles and tendons in the body reducing pain and stiffness, and aids in reducing inflammation in the nervous system and joints. This is useful in keeping you running, but it is also necessary when you experience an injury.
Many runners look to acupuncture after they’ve sustained an injury, however, acupuncture should be part of your regular training routine to avoid injuries. Acupuncture has been shown to stimulate the parasympathetic nervous system. Most of us are more familiar with the sympathetic nervous system often referred to as the “flight or fight” response stimulating the adrenals and other stress hormones. The parasympathetic nervous system is the “rest and digest” response of the body. This system is the “off” switch to the other’s “on” switch. Therefore acupuncture helps to reset the body to a more balanced state to maintain good health.
If an injury does occur it is best to receive acupuncture as quickly as possible so we can interrupt the body’s injury response and stop the over production of lactic acid, and inflammation and swelling, thereby getting you back running with fewer residual issues.
Acupuncture works well on soft tissue; muscles, tendons, ligaments, fascia, and nerves which are most of the issues that plague runners. We treat back injuries, hips, knees and leg issues such as plantar fasciitis, pulled hamstrings, shin splints and ankle pain.
Consider adding acupuncture to your running program in order to maintain the good health that you’ve worked so hard to get, when starting a running program to avoid injuries, or before your event to get you ready and after to re-balance your system. Usually it is best to have acupuncture two times a month as regular maintenance, and once to twice a week when training for an event or just beginning a program. If you are injured you will need treatments two to three times a week until your pain decreases and then move to once a week until gone.
Acupuncture should be a part of your regular routine. Just as you need to perform regular maintenance on your car, you can get the most out of your body if you are taking care of it.
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