David Macgillivray, DOM AP LMT

Golf - Acupuncture Can Help You Improve Your Game & Improve Your Health.

In Chinese medicine, there's a focus on balancing five elements: wood, fire, earth, metal and water. When you're at the top of your golf game, you're in the zen-zone also balancing numerous elements, like the course (comprised of earth, water, and wood), the club (made of metal), and your heart/mind/ego (represented by fire). Golfers and acupuncturists both try to balance, or work with the elements, to achieve a positive outcome. It's a parallel I've always found intriguing.

I see many golfers in my practice as an acupuncturist and massage therapist. My patients and I have developed a deep respect for acupuncture's ability to improve a person's golf game, minimize injuries, and aid in recovery from golf-related pain and inflammation.

Improving Your Golf Game with Acupuncture

As any practiced golfer knows, a calm body and mind is essential to a great game on the links. You need unencumbered focus and control. Tension, anxiety, stress, and other emotional distractions interfere with concentration and your connection to the ball through your clubs. Acupuncture significantly reduces such emotional and psychological disruptions. By better balancing the five elements within you, you achieve more mastery over them in the world around you.

Acupuncture loosens you up physically, too. The needles enhance the flow of energy, or qi, through your body. Circulation and oxygenation improve, too, while inflammation and tightness decrease. As a result, you enjoy smoother, more powerful strokes—the most coveted form of improvement to anyone's golf game.

Reducing Risks and Treating Golf-Related Injuries with Acupuncture

Golf is a low-impact sport (until a bad swing hits the ground, that is) and it's generally perceived as low-risk. But with the average golfer playing 37 rounds per year and practicing even more, according to the American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine (AOSSM), there are dangers for acute and chronic problems, particularly from strained muscles, inflammation, and repetitive motions.

By going into your game more mentally relaxed and physically looser, you're less likely to be injured while playing. Acupuncture promotes a more limber physique. While it's not a substitute for a stretching regimen and warming up, the therapy similarly reduces the risks of pulled muscles, strains, and sprains.

Acupuncture is also great for tending to injuries common to the course. If you experience strains, sprains, or other muscular problems, acupuncture is a proven treatment for associated symptoms. Depending on the circumstances a treatment combines acupuncture with massage and perhaps a homeopathic biopuncture injection or herbal remedy. Lately I’ve been spending more time combining acupuncture and stretching for my golf patients. These tools and techniques facilitate healing and help strengthen affected areas to prevent subsequent reinjury.

Golfers are prone to a variety of other problems. Lower back pain is the most prevalent complaint among professionals and amateurs alike, notes AOSSM, followed by elbow, shoulder, and wrist injuries and pain. Like tennis elbow, golfer's elbow is a specific, recognized condition; the two are similar, but tennis elbow tends to affect the outside of the elbow, while the golfer's version usually causes pain on the inside.

Acupuncture is an effective treatment for all these types of pain and for reducing underlying inflammation. In a new study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine in September, 2012, acupuncture outperformed placebo and standard treatments for chronic back, shoulder, and neck pain. This is just the latest scientific confirmation of what practitioners have known for thousands of years.