Athletes undergo a lot of grueling torture with their bodies due to the intensity of the sports they are in. It is no wonder so many athletes try different medicines in order to help their body recover. In this article I will cover alternative medicines athletes use and why they might use such medicines to help relieve the problems they suffer.
First of all, what exactly is considered alternative medicine. Alternative medicine is known as medicine which is not considered to be part of conventional medicine, i.e. not practiced by any doctor. That is not to say that these alternative medicines don’t work, that is just to point out that these alternative methods may help athletes relieve their pain, or in some cases increase their endurance, but are not exactly practiced by any doctor.
Two of the most popular alternative medicines for athletes are acupuncture and massage. Where traditional medicine would treat aches and pains by medicine, these athletes try and solve their problem by other means. Other forms of alternative medicine include yoga, meditation, herbal medicines, and of course, the all too well known performance enhancing drugs.
First, we will discuss acupuncture and massage. These two alternative medicines attempt to help aches and pains in different ways. For instance acupuncture involves the use of needles to target well known pressure spots, in order to relieve tension in the muscles. Massage works roughly in the same way, except instead of using needles to relieve tension in the muscles, a massage therapist attempts to relieve stress in the muscles by massaging them. Just as an acupuncturist knows which spots to hit in order to relieve pressure, a massage therapist knows which muscles to rub in order to relieve tension.
When it comes to yoga and meditation, these two alternative medicines attempt to to aid the mind in relieving stress in the body. Yoga is a combination of stretching and breathing that attempts to help the mind relieve the body of its pressures. Meditation in the same way tries to aid the mind in healing the body. Both of these alternative medicines can be thought of as medicines which strive to stress the idea of mind over body.
Finally we get to the subject of biological based alternative medicines. These medicines try and heal the body using herbs and different chemical substances. When it comes to athletes, the most common biological based medicines would be: creatine products, protein, and of course ephedrine, which is a performing enhancing drug.
When an athlete uses these chemicals, they are trying to make the body stronger. By making their muscles stronger, athletes gain endurance, strength, and skill. Some medicines also increase the ability to handle pain. Of course, in recent years, drugs such as ephedrine have come into the spotlight, as they are now banned in most major sports, and incur heavy fines if an athlete tests positive.
Of course not all alternative medicines are bad. In the case of Performance Enhancing Drugs, they are known to have very problematic side effect. This is the main reason why they have been banned. They may help the athlete in the short run, but long term use will cause great harm to the user.
To end this article I would like to discuss the usefulness and effectiveness of some of the alternative medicine techniques listed in this article. To begin with massage, such as the sports massage, has shown to be very effective when dealing with aches and pains. It has shown the ability to help athletes recover from fatigue and nagging injuries. Acupuncture has also shown the ability to manage pain as well as speed up recovery from injury. Many professional athletes are combining both massage and acupuncture to help them deal with their problems.
When it comes to yoga and meditation, many athletes are trying these alternative medicines. Both have been known to increase energy as well as relieve stress and restore health. When it comes to professional sports, the one thing all athletes need is energy.
Finally, when it comes to chemical substances, one popular way that athletes stay in shape and ward of illness is aromatherapy. Aromatherapy is the practice of using plant oils in aiding recovery from sport injuries. There are more than a hundred different natural oils that have show to have antiseptic, pain-relieving, and even antidepressant effects on the user. Many athletes are using such oils because it helps them heal their injuries as well as help increase their fitness levels.
Thanks to Douglas Carroll for helping us feel as good on the outside as we do on the inside!