Why does muscle recovery take so long?.

What evidence is there that Acupuncture or cupping therapy be used to help the muscle recovery process with sports injuries?

If muscle recovery is taking longer than usual, it's essential to reassess the injury and consider additional interventions to support the healing process. Let's look at some strategies that can be helpful.

Consult a Healthcare Professional: If muscle recovery is taking too long it's important to consult a sports medicine doctor, physiotherapist, or exercise physiologist.

They can assess the injury, identify any underlying issues, and recommend appropriate treatment options.


Modify Activity Levels: Reduce or modify activities that exacerbate pain or strain the injured muscle.

Avoid high-impact exercises or activities that may delay healing and worsen symptoms.


Physical Therapy: Participate in a structured physiotherapy program tailored to your specific injury and recovery needs.

Physios can provide targeted exercises, manual therapy techniques. They can also give guidance on proper movement patterns to facilitate muscle recovery and prevent future injuries.


Cross-Training and Low-Impact Activities: Engage in cross-training activities or low-impact exercises that promote overall muscle conditioning without placing excessive strain on the injured muscle.

Swimming, cycling, and yoga are examples of activities that can support muscle recovery while minimising stress on the injured area.


Nutrition and Hydration: Maintain a balanced diet rich in nutrients, including protein, vitamins, and minerals.

Add supplementation in the form of protein and magnesium powders, for example, to support muscle repair and recovery.

Stay properly hydrated by drinking plenty of water daily.  In addition, electrolytes 1-2 times per week and especially after workouts can help, as dehydration can impair muscle function and delay healing.


Stress Management and Restorative Practices: Incorporate stress management techniques such as mindfulness, yoga, and relaxation exercises to reduce tension.

Quality rest and quality sleep are essential for muscle recovery and tissue repair.


Complementary to Muscle Recovery: Acupuncture and Cupping Therapy

Acupuncture and cupping therapy are part of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). These modalities promote healing, reduce pain, and restore normal function in the soft tissues.

While evidence for their effectiveness in muscle recovery is still emerging, several studies have explored their potential benefits for musculoskeletal conditions:

Acupuncture: A systematic review published in the Journal of Pain Research in 2015 examined the efficacy of acupuncture for sports-related musculoskeletal injuries.

The review concluded that acupuncture showed promising results in reducing pain and improving function in athletes. These musculoskeletal injuries specifically included strains and sprains.

Cupping Therapy: A meta-analysis published in the Journal of Traditional Chinese Medical Sciences in 2019 evaluated the effects of cupping therapy on musculoskeletal pain. The analysis found that cupping therapy was associated with significant improvements in pain relief and functional outcomes compared to control interventions.


While these studies suggest acupuncture and cupping may offer benefits for muscle recovery and pain, more research is needed.

It's essential to consult with a qualified, experienced and registered Acupuncturist. A qualified Acupuncturist will be trained properly in Chinese cupping techniques and can develop a plan based on your specific injury.

In addition, including these therapies with physiotherapy and restorative practices is a clever plan. They can help optimise outcomes and support long-term musculoskeletal health.

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