ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

5 Athletes Who Use Acupuncture and Why

Updated on January 27, 2017

Though for years Acupuncture was dismissed among advocates of Western medicine as just another aspect of Chinese Mysticism, it has been gaining more ground lately among Westerners, particularly those who are athletes.

Well-known Olympic, MLB, NFL, NHL, and other athletes around the nation are quickly discovering the huge benefits of using Acupuncture as a natural treatment for pain, tension, and injury caused by overtraining.

Not only does it deal with the negative effects of constant competing and training, but it enhances the overall functions of the body by increasing circulation and promoting the rest and relaxation needed for the body to repair itself. For this reason, athletes use it to help keep them in top shape to reach peak performance on game day.

Here are a few well-known, very successful athletes who use Acupuncture on a regular basis.

Dee Dee Trotter

Olympic Gold Medalist Runner

De'Hashia Tonneck ("Dee Dee") Trotter is a two-time Olympic gold medalist in the 4x400 meter relay and former NCAA national champion for the 400meter. She is also the founder of a non-profit organization called "Test Me I'm Clean," which fights the use of performance-enhancing drugs and steroids in athletics.

With so many of her competitors resorting to substance abuse in order to up their performance, the question is how does Dee Dee continually make huge career wins without the same kind of enhancement?

Dee Dee was first introduced to acupuncture when she was suffering from inexplicable muscular issues. Her coach introduced her to Bret Moldenhauer, a professional acupuncturist. Ever since her first treatment, acupuncture has become a regular part of her training and recovery routine.

At the 2012 Olympics in London, Dee Dee brought her acupuncturist with her to the games to help her stay in top condition during her races.

Vincenzo Nibali

2014 Tour de France Winner

Vincenzo Nibali is the 2014 Tour de France winner, racing for team Astana, and a huge advocate of Acupuncture.

His acupuncturist, Eddy De Smeldt spent 5 years studient TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) in China and Belgium, and has now been practicing acupuncture for 12 years in his hometown near the capital of Brussels.

Eddy works alongside team Astana's doctor (Dr. De Maeseneer) in Belgium, using sports acupuncture to help the athletes relieve pain, stress, and tension to their minds and muscles as they train for big races.

His treatments played a big part in Team Astana's win of the Tour de France in 2014, with his patient Vicenzo Nibali taking first place!

Michael Phelps

Most Decorated Olympian of All Time

Michael Phelps, hardly needs an introduction. He is the most decorated Olympian of all time, earning 28 medals as a competitive swimmer for the American team.

There was a lot of hype at this year's games in Rio surrounding the large marks on Michael's shoulder and back that formed in perfect circles of bright red. It was later explained that the marks were caused by an Acupuncture technique known as "cupping."

Cupping is a therapy designed to increase blood-flow to the area of the body that is injured and help speed up the healing process.

As Phelps spends almost 6 hours / day training in the water, and additional hours out of the water, he is prone to a lot of muscle injury due to overuse. Acupuncture helps him speed up the recovery process so that he can keep training without injury or pain.

Amy Acuff

Five-time American Olympian

Amy Acuff is a five-time Olympian, competing on the U.S. track and field team. She specializes in the high-jump, which is one of the more injury-prone competitions out there. After recieving a few successful treatments in college, Amy loved the effects of acupuncture so much that she, herself, became an acupuncturist. She studied even while she was competing.

Not only does she treat herself during training and competitions, but she owns a practice in Austin, TX to help others through injuries and pain.

She uses acupuncture to help her relax and rest when her training and competitions force her to keep an unruly schedule at times. She says that it helps her immune system and offers emotional support under the stress of traveling around all the time.

Like many other athletes, acupuncture helps her to combat the effects of overtraining. It's ability to accelerate healing and promote rest and relaxation so that the body can repair itself has worked wonders for her and for those that she treats in her practice.

This is great news, since she has to balance her time between her competitions, her practice, and being a mother.

Jason Hammel

MLB Pitcher for the Cubs

Jason Hammel first noticed his severe lack of energy after taking a new cholesterol medication. That and his dead arm make it incredibly difficult to compete. Jason was a pro baseball player. He pitched for the Colorado Rockies, the Tampa Bay Devil Rays, the Baltimore Orioles, the Oakland Athletics, and the Chicago Cubs.

At his wife's suggestion, he tried acupuncture. After a short time of three treatments per week, his arm was as good as new and he was back pitching again. At first he was skeptical, but he stated that after just the first treatment, he couldn't believe how good he felt. Not only was his pitching arm starting to heal, but his energy levels were rising steadily.

Up until recently he was one the 2016 World Series champion Chicago Cubs. He is still an American MLB free agent today.

These are only a few of the athletes who have discovered the success of Acupuncture therapy. Here are just a few others you may have heard of...

  • NFL Fullback, Tony Richardson
  • Pittsburgh Pirates Pitcher, AJ Burnett
  • NBA Shooting Guard, Kobe Bryant
  • NFL Quarterback, Aaron Rodgers
  • NFL Quarterback, Matt Hesselman
  • NBA Houston Rockets Star Forward, Chandler Parsons
  • Former NBA Forward, Grant Hill
  • Olympic Swimmer, Wang Qun
  • NBA Player, Mickael Pietrus
  • Chicago Blackhawk, Ray Emery
  • No. 1 Ranked Tennis Player, Kim Clijsters

Why Does Acupuncture Help?

Acupuncture is a time-tested technique that speeds-up healing, reduces inflammation, relaxes muscles, increases range of motion in joints, and it relieves pain. These are all things that athletes deal with on a regular basis because of their rigorous training routines.

But how does it work? Acupuncture deals with the source of the problem. It activates the body's own self-healing mechanisms that are controlled by the central nervous system. Along the meridians (lines of life-energy that course through your body) are certain points that when triggered, stimulate the nervous system and cause it to increase blood flow to an area of the body.

It also causes your brain to release natural pain-killers such as endorphins by activating the part of your brain that governs serotonin levels. It begins to initiate and/or accelerate your body's natural healing functions, so you don't have to deal with the nasty side-effects of drugs.

Over a 10 - 30 minute session, an Acupuncturist will place very fine needles under the skin of the injured area, or along the meridians that correlate to the area you are experiencing pain or malfunction.

Cupping and Chinese herbs are other methods of TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) that Acupuncturists employ to aid in the recovery process.

This is why so many athletes have turned to Acupuncture as a way to aid their pain-relief or injuries due to over-use of muscles during training and competitions.

Would you use acupuncture?

See results


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)