Natural Medicine

Using Naturopathic Medicine to Boost Your Athletic Performance

Most athletes are constantly on the lookout for ways to improve their performance and their body’s ability to handle strenuous workouts. Turning to dangerous chemical supplementation can be a temptation, but these products often end up doing more harm than good. Naturopathic medicine is becoming an increasingly popular choice because of its focus on balance and prevention. Still considered to be “alternative medicine,” naturopathy is more mainstream than one may think, with individuals around the world utilizing this age-old practice.

 

What Works for Athletes?

 

When it comes to treating athletes, naturopathic practitioners are typically focused on prevention. Because athletes often put their bodies through so much in order to become the best in their chosen sport, providing them with the right fuel and maintenance is essential to help them remain at their peak. There are many different naturopathic treatments that athletes can benefit from, but here are a few of the most effective options.

 

Natural Supplements

 

Anyone who has trained hard for an important event or to build a strong, muscular body knows that the right nutrients are vital. In order to perform their best, athletes usually need to supplement their regular diets. Purchasing traditional supplements can be problematic because the ingredients lists often contain unknown chemicals that can be harmful to the body. Using natural supplements provided by a naturopath is a safer choice, since the correct nutrients, minerals, and vitamins are used to ensure athletes are getting all of the nutrition that their bodies need. Some of the most common natural supplements used by athletes include:

 

  • Multi-Vitamins
  • Minerals
  • Omega 3 Fatty Acids
  • Protein Supplements

 

When used properly, supplementation can help athletes perform better and recover quicker. By replacing the essential nutrients that are lost, the body can focus on improvement and health.

 

Testing for Food Allergies

 

Sometimes athletes can plateau or begin to lose their fitness for reasons unknown to them. With the rise of food allergies today, naturopathic doctors have seen an increase of athletes who are able to improve their performance by diagnosing a food allergy. Food allergies can wreak havoc on the digestive system and result in substandard nutrition to the rest of the body. Without the right fuel for their body, athletes can find themselves stagnant in their performance. There are a few ways that food allergy testing is performed including:

 

  • Blood tests – A blood sample is taken from the patient and sent to a lab to be tested on different foods to determine intolerances.
  • Skin prick tests – A needle that contains small amounts of the suspected allergen pricks the skin and if the patient is allergic, a rash or welt occurs.
  • Elimination diets – Removing all potential allergy-causing foods from the diet and gradually adding them back in until the problematic food is discovered.

 

By identifying what foods are causing allergies, the overall health of an athlete will improve and they will continue to see progress once again.

 

IV Therapy

 

Athletes are often low on the essential nutrients that help them to perform their best. In order to quickly and efficiently replace lost vitamins and minerals, intravenous therapy is used. Without the proper fuel, an athlete can be more susceptible to illness, injury, and decreased ability to recover. Many athletes use IV therapy before an event to ensure that their bodies are prepped and ready to perform and after an event to allow for optimal recovery. IV therapy places the nutrients directly into the blood stream, resulting in the faster results that an athlete needs to get back at it as soon as possible.

 

Acupuncture

 

Naturopathic doctors have been using acupuncture for thousands of years and continue to use it for a variety of treatments. Thin needles are inserted into certain areas to balance the energy in the body. Athletes can use acupuncture for several reasons including:

 

  • Preventing injuries by reducing swelling and improving range of motion.
  • Treating injuries by lowering pain and speeding up healing time.
  • Enhancing performance by improving strength, increasing speed, and helping with mental clarity.

 

Acupuncture increases blood flow and stimulates the muscles, making it a great tool for athletes of all levels.

 

Nutrition and Fuel

 

Eating the right foods can make a big difference in an athlete’s ability to perform. Highly-processed foods can cause inflammation and digestive issues that can result in the improper absorption of essential nutrition needed to keep the body going through hard workouts. A naturopathic practitioner can provide athletes with nutritional guidance to help them find their ideal diet. Whole foods that include proteins, carbohydrates, and healthy fats are the best way to fuel an athlete’s body and a personalized diet plan can ensure that all nutritional needs are met.

 

Emotional and Spiritual Well-Being

 

In order to achieve optimal performance, athletes need to be balanced in all aspects of their lives. Simply putting in the workouts will not provide the desired results. Along with proper fueling and the physical aspect of any sport, emotional and spiritual well-being is just as important. Naturopathy can provide athletes with the support that they need to find the right levels of balance in their lives. Treatments that encourage relaxation, such as massage or acupuncture, can be a valuable tool for athletes looking to boost their performance.

 

Personalized Care

 

While these treatments are common choices for many athletes, every individual is different and treatment options should be catered to personal lifestyles. Naturopathy involves more than just medicine; a personalized touch helps people achieve the competitive edge that every athlete desires with the combination of physical, mental, and emotional support.

 

 

April 15, 2014
Posted by admin
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