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  • Donna Nield L.Ac., MSTOM

Trigger-Point Acupuncture Can Help Rock Climbers Scale to New Heights


Photo credit- www.ssgphoto.com

The benefits of rock climbing has steadily been creeping into the mainstream fitness consciousness over the last decade. You don’t have to go out to Yosemite and hang out with Alex Honnold, of “Free Solo” fame, to get a good workout. Climbing walls, both inside and out, have sprung up throughout our area.


Scaling a wall provides a full body workout. The impact to the upper body are pretty self-evident. Your core and legs get worked almost as strenuously, though, just from maintaining the required balance. Similarly, the workout has a cardio aspect due to the effort involved. 


Even though the activity has a number of healthy benefits, it can also be fairly taxing on your body, and acupuncture can definitely help with the recovery process.

At East Village Acupuncture & Massage, we offer a treatment called “Trigger-Point Acupuncture” that is particularly beneficial to climbers. During this session we use a combination of trigger-points (dry needling) and motor-points to help you recover quickly from injury.


More so than other forms of acupuncture, motor-point and trigger point are geared towards muscle and tendon recovery. Motor points are locations where the nerve attaches to the muscle. Inserting an acupuncture needle at that point causes a twitch response, resetting the nerve response. This causes the contracted muscles to relax, and lengthen, and allows weak muscles to recover and strengthen. Trigger points are spots where the muscle “knot” causing pain intense enough that it’s sensitive to the touch. The dry needling causes a histamine response, triggering the body’s own healing response. Everyone’s had a knotted muscle, and you know how good it feels when it finally relaxes. Trigger-Point Acupuncture is designed to elicit that feeling in multiple muscles.


Since overused muscles contract and shorten — something that can become chronic over time — getting the muscle to release is extremely beneficial while the body is recovering. It also reduces the strain on tendons and joints, which also has a positive impact on repetitive injuries like tendonitis.


While in traditional methods the acupuncture needle is inserted and left in place, in Trigger-Point the needle is manipulated to get the muscle to “twitch.” That response is critical in getting the body to react in the intended way to get the full benefit of the treatment. 


Another thing to note is that this process takes longer than a typical acupuncture session.  Feeling a little sore after a Trigger-Point session is common, since the muscles are being engaged. It also can take a little bit of time to help get your body back to optimal condition. If you are climbing hard on a regular basis it can be helpful to add some ongoing maintenance to your training routine.


Next time you’re feeling some soreness after some climbing, give EVAM a call to schedule a trigger-point acupuncture session. We’ll get you feeling ready to scale El Capitan — even if only in your imagination while you’re going up the wall at Central Rock — in no time. 

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