Use of Traditional Chinese Medicine & Acupuncture for Injuries


For many an athlete or simply those wishing to enjoy sports, they have often tried many of the ‘normal’ or ‘traditional’ treatment methods normally considered, such as the old ice pack (or frozen bag of peas, beans, vegetables, etc), rest, elevation, etc, etc. Many will also have exhausted the route of the physios and possibly even a trip to their doctors. For those who may be unfortunate enough to find that none of these routes have proved entirely successful and are perhaps now looking a tad frustrated, have you considered the long revered and centuries old methods of Chinese medicines? You haven’t, well why not?

This is an interesting abstract found on some recent studies:

Traditional Chinese medicine, and especially acupuncture, is becoming a routine in the treatment of sports injuries. For the practising  acupuncturist, being able to make a western medical diagnosis can be  invaluable, as can learning specific needling techniques and point  selections. This article offers an overview of the treatment of sportsinjuries by the acupuncturist, and illustrates the application of  diagnostic and different treatment methods.


Pete Sampras, Seve Ballesteros and Bolton Wanderers football club  are among the many professional sports players and organisations turning  to traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) and acupuncture to treat their  sports injuries. It was found that in 1999, 54% of premiership  football clubs in the UK were using acupuncture to treat sportsinjuries.

Treating sport injuries with TCM and acupuncture, instead of  conventional treatments such as ultrasound and  interferential/electrotherapy, is now routine.

This relatively recent growth in the popularity of acupuncture for  the treatment of sports injuries may seem surprising, but it has its  roots firmly in the traditions of TCM.

History tells us that using TCM for injuries, whether derived from  sports or everyday activities, has for thousands of years been the  practice of Shaolin monks. This form of treatment was called “Dit  Dar Jow”, translated as “fall and break medicine“, and  martial artists were traditionally taught the treatment and management  of injuries sustained in training or combat. Today this art is not so  well known and tends to be guarded secretively within the different  martial arts schools and only passed down from masters to senior  students. Dit Dar Jow, for example, mainly uses herbs and patent external remedies  such as balms and poultices.

I strongly recommend that practitioners who intend to treat sports injuries learn some of the basic tests such as the anterior draw test  for anterior cruciate ligaments and the posterior draw test for  posterior cruciate ligaments. Experience has shown the importance of  using these Western medical joint, muscle and ligament tests to diagnose  an injury and ascertain its severity, not least because severe cases of  bone fractures or ligament/menisci tears require surgery or bone setting  to enable a full recovery. If a patient has not been seen by their  medical doctor, they should be referred to do so in cases where a  practitioner is in doubt about the diagnosis.

In the treatment of sports injuries with TCM, whatever the injury  may be, there will necessarily be some form of qi and blood stagnation  (pain, bruising), possibly complicated by dampness (manifesting as fluid  retention) in a local area and in the affected channels and collaterals.  The understanding of these fundamentals gives TCM practitioners an  “extra” treatment principle in their arsenal, compared to  conventional practitioners.

So once again, consider this tried and tested medical practice of the ancient Chinese. It’s been practised for hundreds of years to treat patients, long before the now ‘modern’ therapy’s were around. So if you’ve tried everything else, why not search out a local Chinese medicine and acupuncture specialist to add to your armour!


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