Having practiced acupuncture for more than 25 years, Bruce Mandelbaum, a "true sports acupuncturist," has seen patients come and go at his Upper West Side office with aches and ailments of all kinds. Acupuncture, a traditionally eastern practice, has been seeping into western ideals more prominently in recent years-so much so that, as Bruce explains, it's hardly considered an alternative means of therapy any more.
Can acupuncture fix it?
We asked Bruce, an avid endurance athlete and running coach, what kinds of clients he most commonly treats at his Manhattan-based practice. Here's what we found.
Myofascial origins. Most pain is related to the fascia, or tissues that surround every muscle from head to toe. A lot of the discomfort we feel can actually be traced back to this underlying structure.
If you've ever gotten out of bed in the morning, for example, and felt a pesky neck or back twinge, it may not necessarily be a slipped disc or other serious injury. More often than not, you can blame it on the fascia, and if that's the case, acupuncture can be extremely helpful. (Yes, you can stop dialing 9-1-1 now.)
Blame it on the boss. One of the most common causes of chronic neck and back pain-the reason why the aforementioned fascial discomforts arise in the first place-is spending long periods of time sitting at a desk and working on a computer.
It's natural to tense the shoulders and the surrounding muscles while sitting at work, explains Bruce. Add that to increased stress at the office (high levels of tension can manifest itself in the body, he says), and you've got the perfect recipe for upper body pain. Acupuncture can help to physically release these balled up pressure points.
Acupuncture for athletes. In Bruce's experience, stress and the fascia-which are soft tissue and muscular in nature-are the two most common sources of pain. But of course, there are also sports injuries.
For athletes, Bruce utilizes a combination of Eastern acupuncture and a technique known as local point acupuncture. With local point, needles are placed into specific points of the injury itself to accelerate recovery. Common injury-prone areas of the body include the low back, neck and shoulders.
For expert advice on acupuncture and your health, book an appointment with Bruce on Zeel.