Acupuncture for Improving Cycling Performance


Nicolas Roche during the Tour of Catalonia cycling race in Barcelona 2011

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.

You might also be interested in...
About Heiko Lade

Hi, I'm Heiko Lade - qualified acupuncturist at The Acupuncture Clinic in Hastings, New Zealand. If you would like to make an appointment for a consultation and treatment, please contact me.


  1. seetharaman . L says:

    dear sir,
    Do u have special experience in treating the hearing loss person regained the hearing ability in your
    practice of acupuncture if you have any pl share.

Please join the discussion by leaving a comment...

Please note: Your email is required but will not be displayed. Comments posted here will appear publicly on the website. If you have a private enquiry please email me via the contact page instead.