Its official: Korea is using Traditional Chinese Medicine as their foremost treatment for their Olympic team in London. This will include various Chinese herbal supplements that are allowed by the Anti-Doping Agency. Acupuncture will be the key treatment used if athletes injure themselves as well as being used to boost performance.
Park Jung-geu of the handball team swears by acupuncture to help his muscles relax quickly. He also said that acupuncture compared to physiotherapy is very quick in obtaining results. Physiotherapy requires prolonged treatment with little benefit.
Some Chinese herbal medicines are on the doping test lists and athletes such as Choi Hong-suk avoid them as they can have a steroid effect.
Of course it is no secret that the Chinese Olympic team will be using acupuncture and all its related modalities including moxibustion, tui na, electro-acupuncture, Chinese herbal medicine, gua sha and cupping. China won 21 Gold medals in the Beiing Olympics.
Acupuncture has been used for centuries in the treatment of injuries particularly being used by the Shaolin monks. Still today, there are many of the old Shaolin herbal formulas being used to treat sprains and strains. Acupuncturists at The Acupuncture Clinic in Hastings and Masterton commonly prescribe Chinese herbal medicine as an external wash in the treatment of acute injuries involving swelling, bruising and pain. Some of the herbal medicines used in this instance include da huang (rhubarb), huang bai (phellodendron) and xue ji (dragon’s blood).
The use of acupuncture in sports medicine is on the increase with many famous sports people such as golfer Paul Casey endorsing acupuncture for its effectiveness in treating injuries.
Acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine are now registered professions in Australia but sadly, this is not the case in New Zealand. Hopefully by the 2016 Olympics New Zealand will include acupuncturists on their medical team.