What is Sports Acupuncture?
Sports Acupuncture is a branch of traditional Chinese Acupuncture that focuses on the treatment of sport related injuries and musculoskeletal pain.
Using principles of biomechanics, sports medicine and knowledge of the particular sports specific requirements, Sports Acupuncture treats commonly seen acute and chronic musculoskeletal injuries, repetitive strain injuries (such as tennis elbow) as well traumatic injuries (post-op shoulder dislocations and fractures). The aim of treatment is to reduce pain and inflammation and improve range of motion in the affected and surrounding structures with the aim of restoring and increasing flexibility, strength, function, endurance and ultimately performance
Dr Jon Marshall has further developed Sport Acupuncture by accessing and treating the athlete through the lens of both traditional Acupuncture and Osteopathic medicine and plays a crucial role in the treatment and prevention of a variety of sports injuries.
As the Osteopath for Sports Taekwondo Australia, he has had the honour of travelling internationally with both the Junior national team and the 2012 Australian Olympic teams working closely in injury treatment and prevention. Whilst both Acupuncture and Osteopathy are very effective in a wide variety of treatments, he found that the fusion of both Acupuncture and Osteopathic manual therapy resulted in a significant decrease in injuries and helped speed up recovery time.
He has since treated a wide variety of athletes, martial artists, recreational athletes as well as his regular patients in his practice and has found this unique combination of modalities to be extremely effective.
Both Osteopathy and Chinese medicine share several key similarities in their approach to diagnosis, treatment and how the body is viewed as an integration of both the mind, body and spirit. To expand on this, the whole patient is treated holistically not just the presenting symptoms or complaint.
There are three very important concepts that both of these systems encompass . The first one is the concept of holism or the "body as a unit". This means that the injury or presenting complaint is never looked at in isolation, but rather as a whole. An example of this is an ankle sprain. Over time, a chronic ankle injury can cause a ripple like effect throughout the body and may result in knee, hip and even lower back pain.
The second very important concept is that "structure and function are inter-related". If the structure is compromised then the function will also be impaired. Treatment is therefore aimed at improving the structures (joint, bone, muscle, tendon). To use the example of the ankle injury, if the injured structures are treated successfully, normal function and healing can occur.
The third and possibly most important concept of why this integrated approach is so successful is the "rule of the artery is supreme". This refers to the importance of all the tissues in the body having sufficient blood supply and being adequately nourished. Chronic injuries result in increased muscle tension and spasm which may result in reduced oxygen and other nutrient supply. Acupuncture can provide blood and growth factors which facilitate the healing process.
What would a typical session consist of?
Both Acupuncture and Osteopathic manual therapy are very effective modalities on their own but once combined , the effects are greatly enhanced. Techniques utilised are:
- Electro -acupuncture. This modality enhances the effect of normal needling and helps in the regulation of pain, muscle hypertonicity and has longer lasting results
- Myofascial cupping. Increases blood flow thereby delivering oxygen to the tissue and removing metabolic waste from the tissues at a cellular level.
- Tuina. Traditional Chinese medicine soft tissue and manipulative techniques
- Auricular therapy
- Ultrasound and Electrotherapy
- Osteopathic Manual Medicine. A wide selection of manual medicine techniques that includes soft tissue techniques, positional release, MET (muscle energy technique), HVLA (manipulation of the spine, hips and upper and lower extremities)
- Kinesio -taping. A definitive rehabilitative taping technique that designed to facilitate the body's natural healing process without restricting the body's range of motion as well as providing extended soft tissue manipulation to prolong the benefits of manual therapy administered within the clinical setting
- Postural and Corrective exercises
- Nutritional and lifestyle modifications and advice