Marathon Recovery

This post is copied from our older, original blog. Original post date 10/09/2012. 

By Marcie Bower, Lic.Ac.

Today’s topic is one near and dear to my heart: acupuncture for recovery after an athletic performance.  I ran the Chicago marathon this past weekend, which is a wonderful race full of enthusiastic spectators and phenomenal athletes of all shapes and sizes. And I have, of course, been using acupuncture to get me ready for the event, keeping my muscles loose, treating any soreness as it arose, keeping my energy levels up. And now I’m turning to acupuncture to help me through my recovery, as I have so many times in the past.

Acupuncture helps our bodies recover after an athletic performance in the following ways:

  • Increases blood flow to the tendons, which don’t receive as much blood supply as the muscles, thereby taking a longer time to heal. This is why pain and stiffness usually occurs at the end of a muscle, where the tendon connects it to the bone.
  • Reduces swelling and inflammation, allowing our tissues to return to their natural state faster.
  • Boosts the immune system, which is depleted when we are fatigued (such as after a grueling athletic event.)
  • Releases endorphins to boost mood and moderate pain.
  • Aids our body in achieving a parasympathic (resting) state in which true recovery can happen: our body refuels our glycogen stores, repairs muscle tissue, and eliminates toxins that have accumulated in the tissues.
  • Boosts energy for post-race fatigue.

So next time you are sore, tight, or in pain from a race or game or match, get in for some acupuncture – your body will thank you.