Athletes must keep at the top of their form and shape: muscles, tendons, joints, reflexes, mind and calculations must be finely tuned. The whole being must be ready for the utmost effort when the body is is pushed at its limits. The limits of the limits. The body is like a string stretched to its breaking point. If he can perform as he wants, no mistakes, perfect curves, maximum throw, and because they have been so well trained, there are not so many physical injuries, even minor ones.
But just because he is in this constant state of maximum tension, one little slip or mistake in the flow of effort can produce many kinds of small pathological results: a sprain, a torn muscle or tendon, a bruise, neuralgia, all kinds of aches and pains. There are many ways of curing and getting rid of these ailments, and in many situations acupuncture could have a place. Either to cure, or to diminish the pain or the inflammation, or to speed up the recovery.
It is unfortunately most of the time neglected, the opportunities are not thought of, which is a pity. Massage, manipulations, creams, medicines and exercises can help. Acupuncture could be a plus.
When you learn acupuncture you are told that the strongest field in which it can perform is the musculoskeletal system. And Olympics (acupuncture) are one of the best opportunities. There is not one chapter in learning Chinese acupuncture (or whatever kind of stimulation with needles similar to it) when it is not mentioned.
There is another field in which acupuncture can be of a great help: the control of the stress, the mental tension which is the most potent drive for the athlete and which can be sometimes slightly overwhelmed by the challenge. Because of what is at stake the inner pressure risks to be too strong and diminish the efficacy of the performer. Don't the sportsmen or sportswomen always refer to this situation when they have won or lost?
Acupuncture can, in many cases, balance and bring harmony in the intricacies of the body's interrelations. This does not mean that acupuncture can perform miracles but it has its role to play in the many ways of treating athletes reasonable injuries. You want a few examples? Lightly sprained ankle. Painful shoulder (from fall). Torn muscle in the calf. Irritated or inflamed Achilleus tendon. Tennis or golfers elbow. All kinds of backaches, neckaches, etc. This is what is taught in acupuncture courses.
There is a third field in which acupuncture can be a good support. To keep the athlete mentally and emotionally fit a few sessions of acupuncture before the event can strengthen its balance and sometimes increase its capacities. Always? Of course not. What happens always?
In other words there is room for delicate acupuncture treatment in many problems from which the athletes suffer. How to do acupuncture in these cases? Learn, adapt the technique, train, and be delicate and attentive to the pain of the patient. Don't forget they are Prima Donas! Before the competition acupuncture can improve the quality of the preparation. During the competition it can keep this quality up. And after the competition it can treat, relieve or cure many small physical problems, pain, diminished mobility, nerve pain or sensitivity, emotional instability, stress related behaviors. Not alone, but as a complement of the many treatments offered by classical medicine, which means an extra chance for the athlete, especially in events like the Olympic Games.
Francois Beyens, medical acupuncturist, Studied 3 years in the Far East. Has been treating, teaching, writing books and articles. Active in congresses and seminars, Constantly thinking and adapting the technique. Life dedicated to acupuncture, of which he is a lucid defender.