The concept of acupuncture has always intrigued (and confused) me. It follows such a different philosophy than that of typical Western medicine and adds an almost spiritual element to healing. How could simply sticking dozens of hair-thin needles into your body act as a true medical substitute for surgery or painkillers or even mental illness? That doesn’t make sense, right? Well, the truth is, acupuncture is a completely legitimate medical practice and is actually being used by many world class performers every day. If world class performers are using it and are, well, world class performers – I should probably be using it.
Technically speaking, acupuncture aims to correct the “imbalances of energy in the body”. I know what you’re thinking and I had the same thought: what does that even mean? Since acupuncture is a deeply rooted Chinese tradition and practice, it is used to modify and enhance the flow of energy (known is the Chinese culture as chi) throughout the body giving you strength, energy and a clear head. Although there is no scientific data to back something like this up, it is an interesting concept none-the-less.
One of the most fascinating aspects of acupuncture is how many different illnesses or complications it can help cure. Whether you are experiencing mental pain such as anxiety or depression, or digestive trouble, or even migraines or Parkinson’s disease, acupuncture can be a terrific tool for you. In fact, many professional sports teams have begun using this form of medicine as alternatives to practices with longer recovery time.
Imagine being an MLB pitcher and you start experiencing elbow pain after a few games with high pitch counts. You have a few options: you can rest for a few weeks and only throw at 70% during practice, you can consider surgery with a couple months of rehab, or you can immediately see an acupuncture doctor for 2 or 3 weeks with immediate results. It just makes sense. Many teams now have acupuncture doctors travel with the team and be ready on site for any player who may be experiencing pain. Two top advocates of acupuncture you may have heard of include Kobe Bryant and Aaron Rodgers. Two of the greatest athletes of all time for their respective sports and they swear by acupuncture. Sandra Bullock and Robert Downey Jr. also both insist acupuncture has impacted many areas of their life.
So how can acupuncture help you, a normal, not-professional athlete? Acupuncture can be great for common pains or annoyances that we everyday men experience. Acupuncture has been a proven solution for skin care, stomach pain, over-anxious nerves, headaches, stress, and even infertility. A typical visit takes about one hour and is no more expensive than a massage. The Cleveland Clinic has finally picked up holistic medicine over the past 4 years, although it has taken them over 20 years to include acupuncture in their umbrella of services.