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Do Professional Athletes Use Acupuncture?

So, I just found out that people are googling, “Do professional athletes truly use acupuncture to manage injury and prevent physical issues?” The answer is a resounding yes! The reason I know is I’m an acupuncturist in Raleigh, North Carolina and I see professional athletes and hobbyists at my practice. 

The truth is, many professional athletes routinely integrate acupuncture into their routines to address injury and uphold their physical well-being. There’s lots of evidence to support this idea. For years “celebrity” athletes have been using acupuncture in basketball, tennis, soccer, and more. I’ve highlighted some of the most well-known athletes who are known to use acupuncture for its therapeutic benefits.

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Famous Athletes Who Use Acupuncture 

Kobe Bryant 

American Basketball Player 

  • Kobe Bryant, the basketball legend known as the Black Mamba, used acupuncture as part of his wellness routine. The former Los Angeles Lakers star credited acupuncture for helping him cope with the physical demands of his basketball career, particularly addressing issues like joint pain and muscle tightness. Kobe even shared a photo on Twitter with acupuncture needles in his legs, giving the public a look at how he incorporated it into his life.

Manny Pacquiao 

Filipino Boxer

  • Acupuncture is beneficial for boxers for two main reasons. First, it helps with focus during training and while in the ring. Second, it also facilitates injury recovery, a crucial aspect in a sport like boxing that’s hard on the body. Filipino boxing icon Manny Pacquiao has integrated acupuncture into his training and recovery plan for these reasons. 

Novak Djokovic 

Serbian Tennis Player

  • Acupuncture can be beneficial for various conditions, including tennis elbow, and some well-known tennis players recognize this. For instance, tennis superstar Novak Djokovic has reportedly used acupuncture to manage injuries and enhance his overall well-being. As a top-level professional athlete, Djokovic likely uses acupuncture alongside traditional sports medicine practices to support his health and performance. Here is an article about an acupuncture nanotechnology patch he is said to use. 
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Matt Hasselbeck 

American Footballer

  • Former NFL quarterback Matt Hasselbeck is another athlete who has spoken openly about using acupuncture for pain relief and injury recovery. The physical demands of football often result in various injuries, and acupuncture has been a part of Hasselbeck’s broader approach to maintaining his health during his career.

Nastia Liukin 

American Gymnast 

  • Olympic gold medalist Nastia Liukin (Beijing 2008) includes acupuncture in her training routine to manage the physical strain and stress of gymnastics. She believes in the power of acupuncture to expedite athletes’ healing processes and promote faster recovery.

Alex Naddour

American Gymnast

  • Olympic bronze medalist Alex Naddour openly credits acupuncture for its role in managing pain and muscle tightness. He has said it’s an essential part of his training routine and it gives him optimal performance. He is the second of three gymnasts on this list. For gymnasts, acupuncture is an excellent way to both train and heal. Here is an article about Naddour and other using acupuncture. 

DeeDee Trotter

Retired American Track and Field Sprinter

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How Can Acupuncture Help an Athlete? 

Whether you’re a professional athlete or someone who enjoys sports as a hobby, I can help you in many ways. Let’s discuss some of the ways acupuncture can benefit you as an athlete:

Acupuncture for Athletes 

Pain Management

With acupuncture, I provide a drug-free alternative to alleviate your pain, whether it arises from injury, overuse, or a chronic condition. I will precisely target specific points on your body, using acupuncture to stimulate the release of endorphins—which are your body’s natural painkillers. This not only offers immediate pain relief but also expedites the recovery process in the case of an injury.

Injury Rehabilitation Assistance

As an athlete, quick recovery from injuries is important because you probably want to resume training and get back to competition as quickly as possible. Through acupuncture, I will truly expedite your healing process by increasing blood circulation, reducing inflammation, and promoting healthy tissue repair. 

Enhanced Stamina, Reduced Stress, and Improved Mental Focus

The truth is, mental focus plays a huge role in athletic performance. I’ll use acupuncture to give you stress reduction and also enhance your mental focus. By targeting specific points on your body that are associated with relaxation and balance, I can help you alleviate stress and anxiety. Once we’ve improved your overall mental state, you’ll see that your concentration is improved, as is your decision-making during competitions.

Improved Range of Motion and Flexibility

I can use acupuncture to get rid of your muscle tension and promote better blood flow. This will enhance your range of motion and flexibility.

Quicker Recovery and Reduced Fatigue

As an athlete you know that intense training sessions sometimes result in muscle fatigue and then eventually delayed recovery. Using acupuncture, I will reduce the soreness and fatigue you feel by optimizing your body’s blood circulation. 

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How Can Acupuncture Pain and Stress Center Help?

For athletes, the journey to recovery can be challenging, but with acupuncture, it becomes more manageable. Whether you’re a professional athlete or not, I’m here to assist you. At the Acupuncture Pain and Stress Center, I am committed to providing top-notch diagnostics along with acupuncture and cutting-edge hands-on treatments to get rid of your pain once-and-for-all. Once we’ve reduced the pain levels you’re feeling, I’ll guide you through a graduated movement strategy to minimize the likelihood of recurring issues. Additionally, we can explore effective warm-up techniques and stretches for your athletic training that you can incorporate into your routine at home or on the field. At the Acupuncture Pain and Stress Center, I use a unique assessment approach that considers your body as a whole. Let me explain: 

  • Discussion: I will investigate the cause of your problem and explain it in simple terms.
  • Assessment: This will reveal the underlying dysfunction(s) and show why you are suffering from your pain.
  • Treatment: I will ease your symptoms quickly using acupuncture and other hands-on techniques that quickly relieve your pain and improve function.
  • Rehab: I will give you simple movements that you easily can fit into your busy day to improve recovery and give lasting relief. Your graduated movement strategy and pain treatments continue as needed to help you build your confidence in your body again so you can quickly get back to thoughtless, fearless, movement. Through this phase of treatment, I can add to the rehabilitation by focusing on specific things like working on speed, agility, flexibility, or strength.
  • Freedom: I plan to make you so happy that you’ll actively tell your friends and family about us. You see, I have built our clinic on word of mouth referrals and I expect my clients to be so happy with the results that they tell their friends and family about me, so they too can get the help they need.