Why Do Elite Athletes Use Acupuncture?

by Nikki Vanecek, L.Ac., M.Ac.O.M. |

Why Do Elite Athletes Use Acupuncture?

The use of Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine in the health care routines for professional athletes is becoming increasingly more common.  I know this firsthand, as I am the owner of EastWest Acupuncture and am the Acupuncturist for the Minnesota Twins baseball team.

I have treated patients for many different health concerns, but you might be surprised by what the Twins players typically come to see me for.

A Whole-Body Approach to Wellness

When I first met with the Twins Baseball Team, I was very clear that my goal in treating the players would be to support them from a whole-body health aspect using the methods of Traditional Chinese Medicine.This means not only numbing pain and healing from injuries, but also reducing the effect of stress and their rigorous schedule, thus promoting healthy sleep, and fostering recovery and overall health to enhance their performance.

Image Source: Star Tribune
The Twins have an incredible medical team. Each team member is so knowledgeable in their field of medicine, as well as their understanding of each players' needs. They are great to work simultaneously, and incredibly concerned about providing the players with the optimal health care, indicating each other when they realize the benefit other medical modalities may have.
Traditional Chinese Medicine at the Ballpark

I start my day off by arriving at the Target Field facility feeling grateful. I love my job! Getting welcomed at gym with smiles, fist bumps, and some person calling “Hey!How is it going?!” is such an incredible feeling. The Twins Organization is kind and very inviting.

Initially, when I was going there to help baseball players, I was anxious (of course), but now I feel like a member of a big, very tall family.

The Twins trainers will inform me about who they are sending to me and what they have been working on with the players. I will address those concerns from a Chinese Medical standpoint, and chat with the players about any other areas where they may need support, such as sleep, digestion, stress management, and so much more!

The medical team has done a fabulous job by telling the players about importance of the overall health. Their sleep is necessary for proper recovery thus lowering the effect of stress by promoting healing and performance. This means addressing all the ways that stress can impact the body, whether that is headaches, insomnia, muscle tension, digestive issues, emotional health, a weakened immune system, etc.

The more I work with the medical team and players, the more impressed I am with how well they all support each other to decrease stress and promote prevention of other health

factors that could greatly impact their performance. I am so obliged, and I love being a part of the Minnesota Twins team. I’m proud being able to meet the common goal of overall body health for the players, injury-prevention, speedy recovery, lasting results, and thus being able to WIN games!

Go Twins!!

Nikki Vanacek, L.Ac., M.Ac.O.M., is the owner of EastWest Acupuncture and Professional Sports Acupuncture. She is paving the way for the collaboration of acupuncturists and Chinese medicine in modern medical health care. Nikki provides exceptional care to her clinical patients and is the Acupuncturist for the Minnesota Twins.

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