A First Time for Everything

My father who was a chef always said, ‘you can’t say you don’t like it until you have tried it’, and that was a bit of rule in our house and still is. The principle has inevitably spilled over beyond food and as a result I am always open to new ideas and experiences.

As a runner there is plenty of scope for that: new distances; new and different events; new technology and gadgets; new kit and shoes; new theories and practices for training, technique, nutrition, rest and recovery.

For the injured runner there is a wide range of therapies and treatments available; and a myriad of practitioners some of whom specialise in one therapy or technique and others who practice a variety and use them as appropriate, determining which treatment or combination of treatments is best suited to the condition that is presented.

Over the years I have had my fair share of injuries and re-injuries requiring treatment as well as a need for general conditioning, the equivalent of a car service. I have been treated by osteopaths, sports injury therapists, physiotherapists, kinesiologists to name a few. I have had deep tissue massage, Swedish massage, sports massage, mobilisation, manipulation, trigger point release, muscle stripping. Knots have been worked out, muscles softened stimulated and lengthened; bones have been cracked; facia released; posture realigned; joints mobilised. Heat and cold packs have been applied; essential oils used; green clay applied; vibrating pads applied; elbows, thumbs, knees and forearms applied to various part of my anatomy; hot stones placed; ice baths and baths containing magnesium flakes and Epsom salts recommended. Like a piece of meat being prepared for the oven.

There is one treatment that I have not had until recently: acupuncture. No one has stuck needles in me. It was not what I expected when booking into an osteopath (highly recommended by some of my fellow runners) for a sports injury massage. It just so happens that this was a first session with a new therapist, so that familiarity and trust had not yet built up, which may have contributed to my surprise. But back to the needles. Needles hold no fear for me, and I was not going to see them anyway, but I was taken a tad off guard and was a touch surprised. But, as they say, there is a first time for everything.

Apart from the slight sting as the needles are inserted the experience is relatively benign. One needle did create an odd tingly sensation almost like a small electric shock; not sore or unpleasant just odd. A bit of elbow and massage and an hour later I emerged. I am not injured just a bit ‘banged up’ which what I thought and not in any way surprising given what I had done during 2014.

Next day I was back out for a training run. The previously tight, heavy and niggly left leg now felt light and niggle free. My left glute was a bit achy, but that gradually eased off. Result. On the next run everything seemed to be back to situation normal.  The aim was; to provide treatment to enable training to continue because, as I was informed, it is consistency of training that is the key to success.

I am not going to argue with that, and as far a treatment is concerned as long as it does the job I am happy to be pummelled, poked, manipulated or stuck full of needles or any combination thereof. A follow up session is booked.