Recovery Acupuncture for Athletes

By: Donna Kini-Bowen

Can acupuncture assist with recovery?  Absolutely.  In fact, it is one of the most common reasons athletes and dedicated workout fanatics see me for acupuncture.  This simple and painless treatment can “reset” the body by stimulating parasympathetic nervous system activity (rest and digest) and optimizing the body’s healing process.    

Mechanism behind acupuncture for recovery?

Studies show that acupuncture’s underlying mechanism is an effective means to modulate the nervous system.  When tiny, sterilized, stainless needles are inserted, then stimulated, winding of the underlying connective tissue initiates a relay of signaling in surrounding nerve tissue to release a “biochemical soup.”  The chemical soup of vasodilators, prostaglandins, endorphins, serotonin, white blood cells, and red blood cells, etc. promotes tissue repair, and reduces pain and inflammation.  Essentially, acupuncture does what the body already does with speed and direction.

What to expect in a recovery session?

A brief assessment is completed to identify the focus of treatment which could be an acute/chronic injury, mental state, energy, quality of sleep and digestion.  Once we identify these issues, needles are gently administered, stimulated and retained for 20 minutes and then removed.  During the treatment one may feel “heavy” or “tingly.”  Clients have described leaving a treatment session feeling like they are “floating” or “tired and ready for a nap.”  The best results come from regular weekly treatments to prevent injuries and restore health.

What about quick recovery from an acute injury?

My most effective modality for acute musculoskeletal injuries is Acupoint Injection Therapy (AIT) and Traumeel.  AIT is acupuncture with injectable homeopathic solution Traumeel.  Traumeel is an anti-inflammatory, analgesic solution that is effective is treating acute injuries with little side effects and desirable when NSAIDS cannot be tolerated.  Three to four injections a week in specific acupuncture points several days after an injury is the recommended dosage.

Does one have to have pain to benefit from an acupuncture treatment for recovery?

Not at all. Acupuncture can aid in reducing stress/anxiety, boost energy, improve focus, promote quality sleep and enhance digestion.  Personally, I find acupuncture helpful when I am feeling overly stressed, physically exhausted and/or emotional burned out.  

For more information about the benefits of recovery acupuncture treatment or if you would like to experience a 20-minute reset and rejuvenate session, contact Donna at


Corradino, M. (2017). Neuropuncture: A clinical handbook of neuroscience acupuncture (2nd edition).  Singing Dragon.

Schneider C. (2011). Traumeel. An emerging option to nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs in the management of acute musculoskeletal injuries. International journal of general medicine, 4, 225–234.

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