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Assistance in Achieving Fitness and Performance Goals

Monday, January 21st, 2013 by

Assistance in Achieving Fitness and Performance Goals

 Many people train hard to achieve better health and fitness, while others want to increase their strength, speed, and flexibility so as to excel in competitive sports or to reach and then exceed their previous best performance in whatever physical challenge that they enjoy. The most important factor would seem to be the will and effort needed to transform the body. A sometimes overlooked factor is getting professional assistance from someone who can help their body to more effectively handle the stresses placed upon it as part of the training process.

One such person is Dr. Jeff McConnell, who is a Board Certified acupuncture physician (AP2231), who also has 25 years of experience as a licensed massage therapist (MA9200), who specialized in sports massage. Dr. Jeff is now working out of Urban Escape Massage and Wellness, Inc. in Tampa as well as a clinic in St. Petersburg. During his many years of providing massage therapy, he would use a combination of techniques such as neuromuscular trigger point work, as well as active-assisted stretches to help the athlete to achieve a more pain free and fluid motion that would allow them to perform at peak levels. Upon beginning his acupuncture career at the start of 2006, Dr. Jeff devoted a portion of his practice to using Traditional Chinese Medicine and acupuncture as an additional set of tools to help patient/athletes to achieve higher levels of athletic performance.

A brief look at the two main approaches that Dr. Jeff uses to get the results that his patients seek would be helpful.

From a physical perspective we are mainly dealing with nutrition and the biomechanics of efficient movement. Not only do we need to feed the body the optimum diet to adequately fuel the muscles, but we need to make sure that the body efficiently absorbs these nutrients. Acupuncture can be used to assist the digestive system of the body to boost metabolism and break down the food more efficiently so that the cells can utilize it.  As important as digestion is, elimination is equally so.  Acupuncture can assist the body to more effectively eliminate waste products and toxins. This is useful both to those whose health goals are weight loss, and to the athlete who can have a shorter turn-around time between competitions by speeding up the removal of lactic acid and other metabolic wastes from the muscles that are a well-known source of muscle soreness after strong muscular effort. 

Biomechanics is a way of looking at how we use muscles and joints to create leverage to produce movement. When a muscle will not fully lengthen it will limit the range of motion that the joint that it operates can move through. This will in turn limit the amount of leverage and thus speed and power that can be generated through it. This will not only limit athletic performance, but it will also increase the risk of injury to the muscles as the athlete attempts to move at high speeds. This problem can be resolved in a number of ways. First, trigger-points or muscles spasms can form in the muscle from trauma or vigorous athletic action. This will reduce the muscles’ ability to fully lengthen. Both neuromuscular massage techniques as well as acupuncture can be used to release the trigger-point and relax the muscle. Active-isolated assisted stretches can be used to safely lengthen the muscle and the fascia or connective tissue encasing it, to allow the joint that that muscle operates to move through its’ full range of motion. This provides for greater leverage to be produced, thus increasing the available speed and power that one can generate. An additional benefit is that the athletes’ movement will be more fluid and efficient, thus improving both agility and endurance. Using a different approach, acupuncture is able to not only relieve muscle spasms, but it also will improve the flow of energy flowing to the muscles. Just as we need an unimpeded flow of blood circulation, or nerve conduction for muscles and organs to properly function, so too do we need an unimpeded flow of Qi (chi) or energy flowing through the pathways, known as meridians, which like an auxiliary nervous system connecting to everything in the body. Having a strong balanced flow of energy to all parts of the body is the goal of everyone seeking optimum health, and for the athlete, it gives them that additional edge of having their muscles supplied with an abundance of energy which they can utilize to push their body to ever greater levels of athletic performance.

And finally, there is the mental aspect. We know from studying sports that the difference between elite Olympic athletes’ performance is usually measured in hundredths of a second or fractions of an inch. What is often the largest deciding factor is the mental focus of the athlete. When one’s “in the zone”, movement is effortless, and everything seems to slows down and become more clear. Many athletes are tempted to use banned substances such as Adderall to increase their focus. Acupuncture can be used to calm the mind and increase mental clarity by opening up the flow of energy to the brain. While you may not be invited to join MENSA, you will likely experience a more calm and focused mind.

For those interested in learning how to reproduce many of the results that Dr. Jeff is achieving, please contact him regarding continuing education seminars that are designed to teach nurses and massage therapists, as well as the general public, how to use flexibility and acupressure techniques. These techniques can be used to assist our patients/clients as well as ourselves.

Contact Us Today!

Clinic Phone: 727 823-9000
Email: jeff@handsforhealing.com

Our Office Hours

8:00am-8:00pm weekdays Saturday hours are available by special appointment