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Scholarship Athlete Recovers from Injury via Acupuncture, Cupping + Gua-Sha


Wellness insights from Acupuncture Center of NJ, providing holistic complementary mind-body-heart-healing since 1986, in Morristown, NJ!

Scholarship Athlete Recovers from Injury via Acupuncture, Cupping + Gua-Sha

Peter Kadar

Patient Healing Journey


I have been treating a 20-year-old soccer player who is on full scholarship at a top-flight Division I university. After 2 outstanding seasons, Lindsey was unable to play last year due to an assortment of muscle strains and joint injuries. This left her very frustrated and depressed as she had been competing on a very high level for years and for the first time in her life was on the sidelines. Her medical diagnoses were unclear but she felt a lot of pain and restriction throughout her upper and lower back shoulders and hips. For a casual athlete, this would resolve with rest and physical therapy but Lindsey could not meet the demands of high-level competitive soccer. 

Lindsey had gone through physical therapy with limited success. She had even received dry needling, a form of acupuncture performed by physical therapists who have very little training, without good results. On her holiday break from school, Lindsey came to the Acupuncture Center of New Jersey in Morristown to see me for evaluation and treatment. She was very fit, healthy and had the confident attitude of a top athlete. She shared that she was uncomfortable most of the time, feeling very tight and sore in her upper and lower back, neck, shoulders, and hips. She was somewhat depressed and anxious because she had missed a year of intercollegiate soccer and was afraid that if she were not in top form she’d lose her place on the starting team. My exam showed that Lindsey was very tight in her trapezius, hip flexors, pectorals, and spinal muscles. This tightness impinged or blocked the flow of qi and blood in the acupuncture meridians of these areas so there was little opportunity to heal and it was difficult for Lindsey to stretch. This explained why physical therapy and chiropractic had only limited effects for her.

I did acupuncture on her while she was lying face down. I used thicker needles than usual because her muscles and fascia were so built up. She has very little fat on her and she was able to withstand the increased qi stimulation from the needles. I inserted needles along the Gall Bladder, Bladder, Small Intestine and Triple Warmer channels of her neck, back, shoulders and hips. Then I applied cupping which pulled toxins out from the deeper levels of muscle and fascia. Lindsey responded very quickly and felt much looser and less sore after her first acupuncture treatment. I repeated the treatment with cupping and then on treatment #3 I did “gua sha” on her neck, back, and shoulders. Gua sha is a Chinese medical treatment that translates to “scraping sand (or stones)” and describes how muscles and sinews can be scraped with a soup spoon or a specialized plastic or bone product to bring out dark blood, lymph and waste compounds. This stimulates the production and transmission of new, healthy blood and lymph to tight regions. In Lindsey’s case, she felt immediate relief from the tight, sore muscles and joints and is looking forward to begin training again with her soccer team. Due to her tight muscles and structural imbalance in her hips and shoulders she will need to continue with acupuncture, cupping and gua sha, and go for regular chiropractic adjustments. But she will be able to return to full-out action on the soccer field very soon!


Post by Dr. Peter Kadar L.Ac. D.O.M.

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