I am deathly afraid of needles. I can hardly even be near them. So when one of my fellow yoga instructors suggested I try acupuncture, because of its myriad of fitness-related benefits, I was ready to crumble in anxiety and fear. But after a bit of research, I realized there are tons of benefits associated with acupuncture, especially when it comes to a fitness lifestyle.
While there's a lot to gain from trying out acupuncture, it's important to remember not to squeeze in a sweat sesh after your treatment. Even though you might experience a burst of energy after getting acupuncture (one of the endurance-related benefits), it's essential to let your body rest and not act on that initial boost.
However, after taking some time to relax, you'll be able to hit the weight room and reap all the many advantages of this ancient treatment.
Here are five ways acupuncture will compliment your #GymGoals.
And for all you needle haters out there: If I can do it, you can do it, too.
1. Decreased Muscle And Joint Pain
The next time you're tempted to pop an Advil to ease muscle fatigue, remember that acupuncture really gets to the root of the pain, while NSAIDs simply act as more of a band-aid.
The needles that are inserted into your body during the treatment create a very small injury, which your body quickly heals. Then, your body begins to heal all of the potentially inflamed surrounding tissues, including muscles, nerves, skin, fascia, and connective tissues.
So, if you're suffering from an injury after going too hard during your HIIT circuit? Acupuncture can help by regulating nerve conduction in the inflamed area and speeding up your healing process.
2. Improved Blood Flow
While you're letting some stranger stick you with needles, know that it's doing awesome things for your bod. Acupuncture pricks create an increase of nitric oxide in your body, thus causing blood vessels to relax and arteries to open.
After the treatment, you'll have more blood flowing to your heart and vital organs, as well as better circulation overall.
3. Injury Prevention
You already know that that investing in some acupuncture will help with healing muscle damage, but get this: It also prevents exercise injuries, too. And you know there's nothing that halts your gym grind more than a pesky pulled muscle.
Investing in acupuncture will prevent injuries by creating a neurological and cardiovascular balance, which supports a natural homeostasis in your body.
4. Enhanced Energy And Endurance
Though you shouldn't exercise immediately after acupuncture, after resting up a bit, you'll continue to feel the energy and endurance from the treatment as you grind through your sweat sesh.
The holistic treatment regulates your nervous system, which helps to improve overall endurance.
So, you know, you can slay even more during SoulCycle.
5. Speedier Recovery Time
Pre-workout acupuncture is a no-no, but a post-workout treatment might just be the restful recovery your body craves.
Scheduling regular treatments in between workouts (or after a race, for all you runners out there) minimizes muscle fatigue and pain, and lets your muscles recover at lightning speed.
Acupuncture can also allow you to sleep deeper and more restfully, which lets muscle tissues rebuild in a more effective way.