Running has so many benefits, but like any sport with repetitive movements, it can create a strain on the body that might result in nagging injuries. Taking care of your hard-working body with regular acupuncture can stave off any long-term injuries and help your body recover more fully. In fact, acupuncture has been shown to lower heart rate, oxygen consumption, and blood lactic acid in elite athletes. One systematic review found strong evidence suggesting that acupuncture is effective in the short-term relief of lateral epicondyle pain (Trinh, 2004). Another systematic review on sports injuries found that, based on the results of trials exhibiting a sufficient level of quality, treatments that were effective in decreasing pain and improving function in patients with patellofemoral pain syndrome were acupuncture, quadriceps strengthening, and the use of a resistive brace (Bizzini, 2003).
There is also positive evidence from individual randomized controlled trials, showing that:
- acupuncture reduced pain in patients with plantar fasciitis (Zhang, 2001);
- electroacupuncture had better therapeutic effects than medication, both in the short and long term, in patients with acute lumbar strain (Yao-chi, 2007);
- acupuncture plus warmed needles relieved the pain of chondromalacia patella (Qui, 2006);
acupuncture reduced NSAID intake and relieved pain in patients with shin splints Callison, 2002);
- acupuncture reduced the pain of patellofemoral pain syndromes (Jensen, 1999);
- acupuncture was effective for soft tissue disease (Yuan, 1989).
Don’t let injuries impede your progress. Next to a great pair of shoes, acupuncture might just be a runner’s best friend!