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Application of Traditional Chinese Medicine in martial arts

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Application of Traditional Chinese Medicine in martial arts

If you are talking about martial arts, it should be noted that the correct practice leads to a decreased risk of injury. And they do not occur just "because". There are several factors that alter the normal mechanisms and cause the same injury: stress, fatigue, previous injury, environmental conditions, age, etc.

From its origins, Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) has been developed in parallel with the martial arts. Both disciplines initially shared the same philosophical foundation and served as an arena for mutual interaction. Thus, it is very common, for example, that the Korean teacher of Tae Kwon Do learn the art of acupuncture or a practitioner of Wu Shu of the Chinese Republic use a subject of traditional Chinese herbal medicine for maintaining or improving his elasticity.

In Europe and especially in Spain, the TCM - along with the rest of so called "Natural Therapy" - is becoming widely popular and increasingly relevant. In this sense, for example, include the efforts made by the Generalitat de Catalunya to establish a legal framework for their regulation. Besides, the person who practices TCM has increasingly demanding both providing therapeutic solutions in the field of prevention and in treatment for sports injury.

We can say that Traditional Chinese Medicine is a first choice for treatment of injuries resulting from the practice of martial arts. Not only affects the resolution of a physical impairment but has implications in all areas of the human being - physical, mental-emotional-psychological - for the very idea of harmony to pursue martial arts.

Let's dig into the Traditional Chinese Medicine

TCM comprises a practical body theory and differentiated itself from any other treatment technique. Its theoretical foundations were born in classical China, built in a systematic way from the third century AD. Perhaps its best known tool is acupuncture, involving the insertion of needles at particular points or reagents capable of regulating both physiological functions, such as emotional imbalances or muscle-skeletal.

Other techniques less well known but equally effective are:

Moxibustion: Also called treatment by the heat, from the combustion of the plant "Artemis Apiacea" on acupuncture points. The name "moxibustion" comes from the Japanese word "mogusa" which identifies the blades of Artemis with those manufactured cups for therapeutic application. Usually, but not essential, moxibustion is accompanied by acupuncture. The use of suction cups is less common and in many cases has fallen into disuse despite its effectiveness.

Phytotherapy: This is little known in Spain because of the restrictive measures applied by the government to the Chinese traditional energy supplements. These products are prepared from plants, animals or minerals. In the West, animal-based supplements have been superseded by plants, so the moral dilemma caused by the use of endangered animals - such as rhino horn or tiger bone - has disappeared. Traditional Chinese phytotherapy is of great importance in achieving physiological rebalancing difficult to address in acupuncture as well as supportive therapy in the treatment of injuries.

Massage Tui Na: The Tui Na is developed from the basic theory of TCM but focuses on the bony system and muscle. The wide variety of manipulations and therapeutic possibilities are often complemented with acupuncture or herbal medicine.

In many cases, though rare in the practice of TCM in Spain, Qi Gong "Working with Energy" is used, variations thereof to enhance the therapeutic effects of treatment. Generally, Qi Gong is used in conjunction with acupuncture or Tui Na.

Restoring balance

The described therapeutic range has a clear objective: the rebalancing. The disease is seen as disruption of health primarily due to an imbalance. The struggle between the factor causing the disease and the body's defense potential is solved by attacking not only the first but also enhancing the latter symptom.

For example, a table of gastric disturbance caused by the heat and humidity characteristic of the summer, the practitioner of TCM will not only cool down the heat and dry the moisture but dedicate part of the therapeutic action to improve the digestive system and defensive to "close the door" to further invasions.


Now, in addition to theories about the physiology and pathophysiology also own a system of energy regulation that is well known: the system of meridians. The energy meridians are the steps that run the body, many of them accessible from the outside and which constitute the field of action of acupuncture mainly.

The scope of Chinese Medicine

TCM treatment in all its aspects can be considered a valid option in almost any condition. Obviously, today, some very serious or acute illness - such as infectious diseases, head trauma or internal bleeding, among others - belong logically to a hospital intervention. In all other cases, the TCM can be a useful option and is used in addition to or as primary therapy.

With regard to martial arts practitioner, the injury resulting from its practice may well be treated with Acupuncture, Tui Na or any other.

In most treatments, the combination of the three techniques can increase the overall therapeutic effect.

Principles of management for injuries

A level of injuries affecting muscle tissue, perhaps the most famous is the so-called "fiber breakage. Depending on the extent of the injury - can be a millimeter injury to a muscle tear of several inches - the prognosis for recovery ranging from few days to several weeks.

After the first days of the injury, acupuncture - supported by stimulation on many occasions - promote the reabsorption of edema and, therefore, have an important inflammatory and analgesic action.

A preparation of phytotherapy completely innocuous but not commercialized in Spain, Yunnan Bai Yao or "White Medicine from Yunnan", can reduce inflammation by lowering the ratio of tissue destruction that occurs especially in the time immediately following the injury. This preparation, composed primarily of root of Panax notoginseng - has nothing to do therapeutically with Ginseng – has known effects on healing as well as bleeding, widely used at almost all the world to treat trauma especially in of sport.

Once the injury begins to heal, acupuncture and moxibustion may help reduce the size of the internal scar, thereby preventing retraction, adhesions and calcifications among other unwanted effects.

The use of liniments and ointments action of activating blood circulation is very useful at this stage and reduces recovery time, helping to repair the internal trauma as well as improving overall muscle tone. At this stage of healing is also very helpful to use herbal poultices that do the same action as therapeutic ointments but with a more forceful and prolonged effect.

Regarding the treatment of substance - in either acupuncture or herbal medicine - in a break of fibers ultimately affect the tone of the blood and spleen (as the concept in TCM) as it would benefit the generation of muscle tissue, both in quality and quantity.

The Tui Na or Traditional Chinese Massage is especially useful in either of the two previous stages but it is the technique of choice when trying to return to sport or activity to prevent possible relapse due to overloading.

In tendon or bone and joint injuries that do not involve detention - there is a rupture of ligaments - the strategy to follow would be the same as explained in the treatment of rupture of muscle fibers. The main variation lies in the use of moxibustion in 24 hours - depending on each case - after the onset of trauma. In a joint or tendon injury has to evaluate the use of acupuncture in the initial stages of injury.

In this case, treatment of substance can be directed to toning Kidney and Liver - always according to the theory of TCM - seeking an improvement of tendon and joint basis.

Another general point that should be mentioned is the prevention. The needs of a practitioner of martial arts are very specific. The coordination, strength, elasticity and resistance predominate, for example, on the force. Obviously every martial discipline is different and adapted to the practitioner must be highly individualized. From diet supplements to the use of energy to enable good nutrition for tendons, muscles and ligaments, to a good energy balance and a smooth muscle tone can be advised and monitored by a professional with expertise in ERM martial disciplines.

Source: European Foundation of TCM - TCM College

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Tags: injury martial arts prevention traditional chinese medicine treatment

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2 Reviews about Application of Traditional Chinese Medicine in martial arts
on 09/01/2015
These are two subjects that really facinate me! Both chienese medicine and martial arts, and it's pretty interesting to consider combining the two. I'm really excited to learn more about meridians and how to target specific meridians to heal certain conditions. Thanks for hte wonderful information!
on 01/05/2013
I?m going to study some of those techniques because I want to learn a lot about this traditional medicine and open a place to cure people with alternative medicine like massages and acupuncture so this information can be something helpful for me, thanks a lot for that I hope to create that place soon!

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