Tennis Elbow and Chinese Medicine
Updated: May 27
After a month of Tennis the Australian open is coming to a close. We’ve had ups and downs, lows and highs, and that’s just with the weather, not to mention the emotions from the players and spectators.
With the tennis frenzy among us I thought I would share some insights from a Chinese medicine perspective about tennis elbow. From a western medical point of view Tennis elbow is an irritation or inflammation of the tissue connecting the forearm muscle to the elbow and is usually caused by a repetitive strain or movement. Which means this curse of a sore elbow is not restricted to just tennis players. Some people who move or strain their arm in a repetitive pattern can develop tennis elbow symptoms too.
At Balance Point Acupuncture in Melbourne, we can view tennis elbow in a few different ways from a Chinese Medicine (CM) perspective and here are two you might find helpful:
Firstly, we would check for an overall ‘Qi Stagnation’. Meaning if the Qi (energy) in the body is moving well it’s like a well-oiled machine and moves with an effortless flow. If the body’s energy is stagnated it becomes ‘dry or clunky’ and can cause irritation, inflammation or tension.
We would also check for any deficiencies. The Xue (Blood) nourishes the muscles/ligaments/tendons and the Qi (Energy) moves the blood… therefore the cause may not be Qi stagnation but rather the lack of Xue getting to the area because there isn’t enough of it to go around.
Now what does this all mean for you as a patient? Well… for a Qi stagnation, it’s important to encourage smooth circulation with relaxation, stretching, warmth and gentle movements or acupressure massage. The worst thing to do is to encourage the stagnation with stillness, cold or strapping (so ice packs and not using your arm at all isn’t a good idea)
For a Xue (blood) deficiency it’s important to support proper nourishment. This is usually with high protein and high iron foods as well as clean whole foods. But it’s just as important to avoid the wrong kinds of nourishment like inflammatory and highly processed foods. i.e. eat more fish and veg and less fast food burgers.
Now these are just a couple of the common things we see in clinic, but if you’re unsure of what type of pain or condition you have please do book in to see a certified acupuncture practitioner. With a combination of acupuncture for pain relief, supportive rehab movements and healthy nutrition you could be well on your way to aceing your opponents on the tennis court once more.
And you if had any further questions about this article feel free to contact me