Recovery is Most Important
Recovery is Most Important

As an athlete, recovery is most important to ensure you maximize your training.

Whether you are a muaythai fighter or a weekend warrior, every athlete is familiar with the two training interrupters, pain and fatigue. Muscle recovery is defined as restoring the body to its original or better condition.

Why is recovery most important? With the ambition to better yourself, your body is under constant stress as we push beyond our limits. While rest, good nutrition and stretching are good recovery strategies, acupuncture is used to ease acute and chronic pain. It decreases healing time, eradicates pain and resolves stubborn ailments.

The ancient Chinese medicine defines pain as a disruption in ones Qi (chi) causing blockages of the energy channels. Needles are placed into the skin along these channels which results in a free flow of blood and energy through the muscles and joints. This accelerates an athlete’s recovery time, returning the body to its natural state and restoring internal harmony.

As we aim to become stronger, faster and more agile we mask our aches and pains from fight preparation through the use of painkillers and ant- inflammatory medication. Intense training causes micro fiber tears in the muscles that only heal with rest. Acupuncture is recognized for its rejuvenation abilities. This strategy can reduce fatigue, restore energy levels and decrease the probability of serious injury, without the use of any unnecessary medication.

While acupuncture does not work miracles, it is one of the most effective recovery strategies I have tried, allowing me to return to training sooner after a fight.

For the best results, acupuncture should be utilized during the window where DOMS is the most intense. This meaning, acupuncture 24-72 hours after a fight or intense workout to encourage blood flow to injured areas. You are allowing the body to reduce inflammation and swelling, and the build-up of damaged tissue.

Acupuncture restores energy levels and strengthens the body both inside and out.

Pain is a warning sign that something is out of balance, however as a fighter you have the ‘suck it up princess’ mentality and tend to push through more than you should. Poor recovery can negatively impact performance, endurance and vitality.

I had no intention of trying acupuncture, however, it was found as a desperate measures recovery strategy. Three months into recovery, after tearing the ligaments and tendons in my ankle, surgery was now on the table. I opted for acupuncture instead and the improvements were incredible. I felt a difference in pain levels after each session. Later I coupled acupuncture with a strength and rehabilitation program designed by Nathan Parnham, from The Performance Team. Together they rehabilitated my ankle to the point that I, at times, forget which ankle it was.

Each strategy has its place in recovery, find the one that works for you. Acupuncture is a weekly ritual as well as a mandatory post fight procedure for me.

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Yolanda Schmidt

Yolanda Schmidt, from Sydney, NSW is the Australian national champion in Muay Thai. In addition, she is a two-time bronze medalist at IFMA world championships. She is also a teacher at Menai High School in Illawong, NSW. Schmidt is a regular contributor to FIGHTMAG, where she covers women’s kickboxing and Muay Thai.

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