Researchers at the University of Alberta, Faculty of Rehabilitation, have demonstrated that acupuncture, when performed on traditional acupuncture points, improved the performance of cyclists undergoing a 20 kilometer ride. The results were presented in the Clinical Journal of Sports Medicine. Acupuncture has been used for centuries to improve lung function and increasing fitness. The use of acupuncture for increasing fitness goes back to the days when Shaolin monks used acupuncture and Chinese herbs to give themselves an edge when competing against each other in training sessions.
It is well known that the Chinese Olympic team used acupuncture to improve their athlete’s performance during the games. Australia and America now have traditionally trained and qualified acupuncturists on their medical team going to the Olympics.
The research in Alberta showed that in particular the Borg Rating of Perceived Exertion was improved. Interestingly the research did not involve elite athletes but random people were selected between the ages of 18 and 30.
Cyclist’s knees can easily be injured especially from overuse and in particular a condition known as Patellofemoral syndrome (cyclist’s knee) is common.
In addition, many cyclists get tight hamstrings which then causes them to arch their back while riding and that in turn causes the neck to hyperextend. Acupuncture is particularly useful in treating both the hamstrings and the resultant neck stiffness.
One of common acupuncture points used for relaxing both the neck and the hamstrings is called yang ling quan which is located in close proximity to the head of the fibula, just below the outside of the knee. This acupuncture point has the classical indication of relaxing all ligaments and tendons. Many people have remarked that they have increased flexibility with regular needling of this point and for example can touch their toes more easily after a course of treatment.
Not many New Zealand cyclists are using acupuncture to enhance their performance but Rob Moore uses both acupuncture and Chinese herbs to improve the quality of his health and fitness. He also practices acupuncture in Mount Maunganui and treats many other sports people.
Rob Moore is extreme sports thrill seeker and will be competing in France in June at the Megavalanche competition. Anyone who even finishes this race in one piece deserves a medal.