Can Acupuncture Help With Surfing Injuries?

Almost every summer, there are news stories about sharks preying upon surfers. In fact, surfing involves risk, but sharks are not usually the problem.

According to Dr. Andrew Nathanson, emergency medicine doctor who specializes in surf related injuries, “collisions are by far the greatest risk to surfers.” Over 55% of all surf accidents involve being struck by your own board and 11% by someone else’s board. An additional 18% are due to impact with the ocean floor.

What can surfers do to limit risk? Develop good wipeout technique!

Surf 3

Nancy Simms

That’s right, since you are going to fall off your board allot, you need to learn how to do it safely.

There are three things you don’t want to collide with.

  1. Your own board.
  2. A rocky bottom.
  3. Another surfer.

When you fall off your board, you need to be aware of who is around you, where your board is and the texture of ocean floor.

New surfers are sometimes called kooks, sometimes for good reasons. In order to lose this moniker, you need to respect those who are around you in the water and make sure you are staying out of the path of someone else who has already caught a wave. Sounds simple, right? In practice, surf breaks can be crowded and avoiding collisions requires skill, diplomacy, constant awareness of where you are in the surf line up and your place in the meritocracy. Never try to catch a wave that someone else already has already caught.

Falling off your surfboard requires some aplomb.

8th May 2016 Nihiwatu Sumba, Indonesia ©Jason Childs Photo Jason Childs

©Jason Childs

  • Always fall off the back or side of the board.
  • Fall butt first, it’s the softest part of your body.
  • Assume that the water around you is shallow and keep your legs bent to avoid ankle sprains.
  • Don’t get hit by your own board! Take a deep breath, cover your head with your arms, take the fall and stay down, down, down, well below the water’s surface. Wait for the wave to pass you by and your board to settle. Than, slowly rise to the surface. Time you have, spare heads you don’t.

Sometimes, safety tips aside, ankles get sprained, shoulder tendonitis sets in, hip flexors spasms won’t quit. Low back and neck problems are also common amongst surfers. That’s where acupuncture can be of help.

Each of these sports injuries have common features that I can address using acupuncture.

1.   Inflammation
2.   Pain
3.   Muscle spasm
4.   Loss of mobility

Inflammation is the body’s natural response to injury. Armies of white blood cells are sent to the injured area to protect and repair the damaged tissue. Swelling impairs circulation of energy and fluids; this leads to pain. In turn, pain causes muscle spasm and muscle spasm causes a loss of mobility. Ultimately, rigor-mortis set in!

All injuries, whether recent or ancient, cause energy to become trapped, stagnant and blocked. Acupuncture restores the flow of energy to the injured area. In my practice, I typically use acupuncture points that are far away from an injury (distal points) to remove the energetic block, improve blood flow and reduce pain. As the muscle spasm subsides, mobility is restored.

By removing the energetic block and restoring the smooth flow of energy, acupuncture taps the body’s innate ability to heal.

Also Read:

Does Rolfing benefit dancers?

Rolfing benefits for runners