Acupuncture for Managing Pain and Treating Sports Injuries

acupuncture for sports injuries
Photo by Braden Collum/


Most types of sports involve strenuous physical activities on the pitch, ring, court, track, and even water. As such, injuries can happen anytime, whether during a competition or while training. It’s also not limited to professional athletes. People who run regularly or lift weights as part of their regimen can also develop chronic pain or suffer an activity-related accident. Even with great care, repeated movements using specific parts of the body could still result in problems. These can include strain, sprain, inflammation, and at times outright injuries. While an athlete battling through pain might still be able to perform well, it comes at the cost of aggravating the condition.


Often enough, the pain could become simply too great to be endured, and it’s imperative that professional and amateur athletes alike take time off from exertion until they recover. For such driven and competitive individuals, that can be yet another blow altogether—this time to the mind and spirit—because taking too much time off could mean sacrificing some of the strength and skills they’ve already earned through sheer persistence.



How acupuncture can help with sports injuries

In sporting circles, managing pain and treating sports injuries using acupuncture has become increasingly popular over the decades, but the practice has actually been around for centuries already. Acupuncture is what martial arts practitioners have been employing not only to reduce pain and to facilitate a faster recovery but also to help improve their performance. Modern-day professional sports clubs, and even national teams, have warmed up to the idea of drug-less pain management through traditional Chinese healing modalities, many of whom have an acupuncturist as an integral part of their staff.


There are instances wherein the exact nature of their sporting injury isn’t clear to the patient; they only know that they’re in pain. After a thorough consultation, the acupuncturist would make a diagnosis and proceed to stimulate oxygen flow through the body by inserting ultra-thin Japanese acupuncture needles into specific distal points. Santa Barbara Herb Clinic and its lead practitioner Ms. Tram Pham, L.Ac. specializes in the acupuncture system known as the “Balance Method” which was pioneered and taught by Dr. Richard Tan.


Distal points refer to areas which are seemingly unrelated to the points of pain or injury, with heavy emphasis on “seemingly.” These points are all interconnected through the body’s pathways. Distal healing through the Balance Method focuses on achieving results by correcting the balance of a person’s body. It also improves blood circulation which could lead to reduced inflammation and a faster recovery.


Learn about how acupuncture can help relieve pain in the joints.



acupuncture for sports injuries
Photo by Mitchell Hollander/


Promoting mental and physical harmony

Aside from helping promote quicker healing of sports injuries, acupuncture can also have a direct effect on an athlete’s mentality. Acupuncture can induce the release of serotonin, a neurotransmitter that is responsible for regulating mood, sleep, and pain. Thus, acupuncture could simultaneously relieve possible side effects of a given injury, including insomnia and emotional disturbances. It also releases endorphins and other chemicals that are the body’s natural pain killers. Unlike taking medications for managing pain and treating injuries, athletes won’t have to risk an increased tolerance and other adverse side effects from this traditional treatment.


Managing pain from sports injuries using acupuncture can prove especially beneficial, and the Balance Method can be more so. Often, it’s possible that a particular body part is responsible for the chronic pain in another body part. Leg injuries in a runner, for example, can trace its origin to an ineffective posture or the misuse of the hips. Acupuncture can thus not only target the injured areas. It can also stabilize the functions of different body parts and harmonize the body as a whole to enable it to perform to its fullest potential.


sports injuries


About acupuncture in Santa Barbara Herb Clinic

Tram Pham, L.Ac. is one of Master Richard Tan’s last students. She has taken over the practice and ownership of the Santa Barbara Herb Clinic from the late Dr. Henry Han. She has performed acupuncture on many professional athletes, including some of the most prominent ones on the international stage. She combines a highly effective and fast-acting system of acupuncture techniques with a range of other traditional Chinese therapies, including fire cupping, also known as dry cupping, and tui na, which is more commonly referred to as acupressure.


The clinic’s Herbal Pharmacy also offers a substantial range of medicinal herbs, powders, teas, and pills. These offer holistic wellness while also helping to target specific types of pain and ailments. You can experience the clinic’s exceptional services even if you live outside Santa Barbara. Set an appointment and you can consult with us through a phone or video call. We can even mail prescribed herbal remedies to your door.