This area of Chinese medicine involves the use of Acupuncture, Herbs and TuiNa massage to enhance the performance of competitive athletes to get that extra few percent beyond what their bodies normally delivers.
The use of Chinese Medicine in this area was first used by China to help its athletes compete at the Olympic games. In 1993, this caught international attention when 9 Chinese athletes broke 9 world records without a trace of steroid use. The team coach acknowledged the use of Chinese Medicine for the exceptional performance by the team. This happened at the 7th National Chinese Athletic Meet. Since then, many nations and many individual athletes have adopted the use of Chinese Medicine as a Performance Medicine.
The real roots of Chinese Performance Medicine goes back to its use in Chinese Kung Fu. Masters of many Chinese martial arts were traditionally also doctors proficient in the use of Chinese Orthopedic Medicine (中醫骨傷科，跌打傷科, 推拿骨傷科). To this day, many famous Chinese herbal medicines come from the martial arts schools of the past. It is almost unimaginable for a Chinese martial artist to practice their art without the use of Chinese herbs. The herbs help them heal injuries, enhance blood circulation, strengthen their muscles and energize their bodies. I have even heard about great batches of heated herbal brew that martial artists would bath in for hours atop a fire. This was supposed to help transform the bones and ligaments to be very soft and flexible so that the person could achieve extreme agility.
Modern day uses of performance medicine is applied to many different classes of athletes: dancers of all schools, competitive sports and martial artists. Even many recreational runners use it to enhance their weekend hobby.
My exposure to Chinese performance medicine started back in my years in Taiwan and became official training when I went to HangZhou, China. I have worked with two Chinese martial artists recognized at the national level there and I’ve worked with two nationally recognized martial artists here in California since 1997. I have worked with runners, dancers and performers in the past.
Performance Medicine is great fun because there is a lot of excitement involved when athletes break their own personal records. But I still always try to offer balancing advice for the person to approach their sport with longevity in mind. Avoidance of injury is just simple sound advice, but competitive emotions can often make a person ignore the advice.
Post-competition treatment is often requested for short and quickened recovery. This process can offer better recharge for the athletes that have more than one event in a day (i.e. track events), or it can offer better recovery that reduces the long term wear and tear for events like marathons or martial art events.