Mind | Body Perspective
Most athletes recognize that your mental state has a great deal to do with your physical performance. The complex interrelationship between the mind and body is intriguing and worthy of exploration. Traditional Chinese medicine is holistic in nature- it has always respected this relationship and is key to maintaining balance within the body. Principles of TCM are based on the fundamental concept that the physical, spiritual and emotional body are connected in their function. Disruption of this balance can be caused by either external or internal factors. A few examples of internal factors include stress, poor diet, and excessive thoughts.
This is consistent with Western medicine as we know that emotions can cause certain physiologic and biochemical reactions in our bodies. These include increased muscle tension, muscle fatigue, increased respiratory rate and increased heart rate, which at a certain level can interfere with an athlete’s performance. Acupuncture works to relieve stress by engaging the parasympathetic nervous system (rest and digest), stimulates the immune system and decreases pain by stimulating endorphins which produce an analgesic effect. This benefit is available not just for athletes, but for all patients, in order to provide a calm and focused mind as well as a relaxed body.
Meditation Qigong is another method used to promote mind-body awareness. This practice is used to cultivate physical, emotional and spiritual health. It is a specific type of meditation one can learn to do on their own that involves visualization and focusing on breathing patterns in an effort to ultimately strengthen their “Qi” or life force. Meditation has been used for thousands of years and has been proven to reduce anxiety and depression, decrease pain and improve overall well-being.