A large part of the parkour philosophy revolves around preservation of the body: be strong to be useful, train to last. A good practitioner will train with safety and caution in mind, always careful to avoid injury. However, as with any other physical activity, injuries do occur. And just like any other athlete, traceurs are always eager to get back on their feet and continue training as quickly as possible.
There are many ways to treat injuries- casts, wrapping, medication, etc. But often overlooked are the more traditional methods of acupuncture and herbal medicine, which have been shown to relieve pain, decrease swelling, and promote blood flow to speed up injury recovery time. Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) have been used for hundreds of years as a treatment for all kinds of illnesses and injuries in the east, and have also been accepted by most western hospitals and doctors as reliable forms of treatment.
Traumatic stress injuries, such as fractures, breaks, and sprains, are among the most commonly received injuries in parkour and freerunning. Numerous studies have recorded the positive effects that acupuncture can have on these types of injuries, claiming “For traumas such as sprains, acupuncture is not only useful for relieving pain without the risk of drug dependence, but may also hasten recovery by improving local circulation” (World Health Organization report, Acupuncture: Review and Analysis of Reports of Controlled Clinical Trials, 2003).
I was inspired to look into the ancient practice more after my own very positive experience with a local acupuncture and TCM therapist, Jeanne Atkin. Almost one month after receiving a tibial plafond fracture, the flesh around my ankle remained extremely swollen and sore. After just one acupuncture session Jeanne, as well as the application of some trauma liniment, I noticed the swelling had gone down a considerable amount overnight.
For any athletes suffering from prolonged or acute pain, either from long term damage or traumatic incident, I highly recommend seeking out acupuncture as a method of treatment. Jeanne Atkin has seen several members of our community, who will all attest to the great results they’ve seen from her treatment. Visit her site, www.jeanneatkin.com, and drop her a line if you are interested in getting treatment. You won’t regret it!
Written by Thomas