Sports Medicine Acupuncture, which is acupuncture for improved sports performance and related injuries, is not new. The ancient martial arts masters treated their patients!
I am both excited and pleased to report that over the past six months I have had the honor to treat 4 Olympic athletes. This is an exciting time for our industry while the Olympic games are currently being held in London. I eagerly watch to see who has won the medals, who has suffered an injury, and how acupuncture can integrate with all of the various events.
In reflecting upon treating the 4 athletes, two of them came to me with an injury with a complaint of hip pain and the other one a hamstring injury. As an acupuncturist and an exercise physiologist, I understand the situation when an athlete looks at you and without having to verbally ask, they need to know how long it will take to get back to their training and conditioning program.
Since their level of athleticism and body awareness is profound, the recovery time was simply amazing! They are definitely in the select group of patients we would regard as high responders. I was able to integrate my exercise science background with acupuncture for an overall treatment recovery program which helped them return to the high caliber performance they have worked so hard to achieve.
The other 2 athletes came to me with no definitive chief complaint of injury or pain, but to improve their performance. For those watching the Olympic games, not only do seconds count, but it gets to the hundreds of seconds. This wonderful opportunity gave me the unique situation of also combining my training in manual muscle testing and manual therapy followed with the acupuncture treatment.
In discussion with their perspective trainers, we talked about how we are incorporating acupuncture into the sports medicine field not only to treat injuries and to help with recovery from strenuous training and preparation, but also take a new perspective and focus primarily on the ability to perform at a higher level of intensity with throwing, running, jumping, swimming, or delaying fatigue.
One athlete in particular serves as a perfect example. He was the patient with the hip pain, a chronic situation that was delaying his progression to a higher level of intensity in his periodization schedule. Within a few weeks of treatments, he included acupuncture into his “maintenance” program and would continue to receive treatment.
Upon further consultation, we set forth with the treatment plan to focus on accelerating his performance. There were no injuries, nor were there any further setbacks. I anxiously watch media coverage for the ultimate outcome!
Sports Medicine Acupuncture is also appropriate for professional sports- baseball, hockey, football, tennis, basketball, etc, as well as recreational athletes exercising in health clubs and gyms. Acupuncture can help to accelerate their abilities and reduce risk for potential injuries.
A doctoral student at Emperors College, Neil Maki, LAc is currently engaged in a research project protocol design for baseball pitchers to increase speed-velocity for their fastball pitches. It is easy to recognize that acupuncture will be fully integrated into the sports medicine arena on a large scale as the demand for higher performance is always “in season”!
“Visiting patients where they live is not only good medicine and good marketing. It’s also good for the soul.”
- James M. Giovino, MD
Did you know that Acupuncturists are Primary Care Physicians in California? Insurance Companies give Physicians special codes to designate place of service for treatment provided and billing for Home Care Evaluation and Travel Time for house call and medical concierge. Imagine that Insurance is like a coupon or rebate that helps you pay for house calls by a Primary Care Physician.
The Future History of Home Care and Physician – House Calls in the United States (Copyright 2001 by The Gerontological Society of America) states:
“Yes, this is what physicians are about. Physicians take care of patients.” However, more recently, when physicians tell colleagues that they make house calls, they may be looked upon as Luddites. More surprising is the reaction from patients in need of a house call when told they can be seen in their home: “I didn’t know anyone did that anymore.”
It is fascinating how quickly this transition occurred. A
mere 50 years ago, house calls accounted for 40% of all
physician-patient encounters. By 1980, house calls accounted for only 0.6% of such encounters.
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