Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors
"Does acupuncture help athletes perform better?"
I would like to run faster. Can acupuncture help me accomplish this?
Acupuncture is an area of medicine that we call complimentary or alternative. This is a group of medical procedures and treatments which are not embraced by the mainstream medical field, or by an other group that practices evidence based medicine. The reason that acupuncture is not considered a mainstream medical procedure is because it has not been formally studied so that we can know what its risks and benefits are.
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Without knowing this critical information, very few doctors will recommend acupuncture for anything except as a last resort, or if a patient insists. In terms of your athletic performance, there is no evidence that acupuncture will do anything to your speed. This is not to say that acupuncture has no clinical benefit. There are people with migraine headaches, allergies, and chronic pain that all feel that acupuncture has benefited them in a major way. While most clinicians don't discount that, we cannot recommend it without seeing real data on its usefulness. I suggest that you schedule an appointment with your primary care physician (such as a family doctor). If you are insistent on trying acupuncture for any of your medical needs, then your doctor may know an acupuncturist that he or she knows and trusts. Good luck.
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