Sooooo I found this amazing book at the library the other day, and I COULD. NOT. STOP. GIGGLING.
I must share it with you.
Acupressure for Athletes, by Dr. David Nickel, DOM
Dear Dr. Nickel, author: Thank you for this gem of a book. The cover alone made my day.
To the fabulous Kira Od, illustrator (and bronze sculptor) extraordinaire: I have never seen such anatomically correct moustaches. Thank you.
I would recommend saving this post as a resource for the future, when you’re having a bad day at work. The eighties hair, scrunchy socks, and aforementioned moustaches will surely cheer you up. If they don’t, then probably nothing can. Sorry.
Where did I find this awesome book?
I was in the library at Finger Lakes School of Acupuncture & Oriental Medicine looking for tui na and acupressure books to bring to a presentation when I came across Acupressure for Athletes. As part of my job as an acupuncture admissions counselor, I give presentations in colleges explaining acupuncture, what it’s like to be an acupuncturist, and what an acupuncture education is like. Basically, I’m hoping to recruit new acupuncturists who will change the world 🙂
For this particular presentation, at a massage school in New Hampshire, the students were looking forward to learning more about Chinese medical massage and acupressure, so I went exploring in FLSAOM’s library to see what I could see.
And oh, what did I see?
Only what my coworkers (and Instagram followers) have deemed “The best book ever!”
Not even just the best acupressure book – the best book of all time. (Take that, James Joyce.)
For the record, I would like to state that we have a perfectly modern library at FLSAOM. But like any good library, we hang on to oldies but goodies. So don’t go imagining that our library is filled with eighties-only textbooks plastered with half-naked people. Or do, if that’s your thing?
Let’s take a look inside:
To begin with, I would be doing this book a disservice if I failed to admit that it’s actually an awesome resource for athletic patients who are genuinely interested in self-care.
(It has only one caveat; see below.) And, carrying this book around will help your patients make friends, because people literally cannot resist the cover.
The author, Dr. David Nickel, is a Doctor of Oriental Medicine (DOM) who’s been in practice in California since 1982. He specializes in the treatment of athletes, and essentially wrote this book because he needed a resource for his patients about acupressure and injury prevention/management. I wish I had that motivation. Can’t find the book I need? I’ll just write it.
Before we talk about anything else, though, we need to discuss:
In all seriousness, part of the reason this book is great for patients is that the drawings are awesome. The anatomical accuracy makes it makes it pretty darn easy for the patient to know where points are located, especially in difficult, smaller areas like the back of the hand and the ear.
The illustrations are also awesome for other (obvious) reasons, including, but not limited to:
- 70s short-shorts
- intense facial expressions
- people exercising (and injuring themselves) in their underpants
What else is great about about Acupressure for Athletes, from a serious standpoint? It provides:
- Step-by-step guides to acupressure warm-ups and cool-downs to enhance athletic performance.
- Acupressure guides for each sport based on the most frequent sprains/strains that occur in those sports.
- Acupressure protocols for internal conditions (i.e., not just musculoskeletal issues).
- Interesting discussion on the history of acupressure and how acupressure works.
- A worksheet for patients to take home.
- Dr. Nickel’s combination of sports psychology and Chinese medical theory.
Regarding Dr. Nickel’s merging of sports psych and Chinese medical theory:
I think serious athletes will appreciate Dr. Nickel’s discussion and point of view. As an acupuncturist, Dr. Nickel is naturally a huge proponent of the importance of balance:
“Proper balance produces performance that is both energetic and relaxed: peak performance.”
For athletes who are physically similar in capabilities, Dr. Nickel reminds us that who will win is largely based on the athletes’ mindset: their emotional preparedness for the competition at hand. So the athlete chooses an acupressure routine based on whether they need relaxation or stimulation before a competition, in order to achieve that ideal balance of both.
Dr. Nickel also encourages the use of visualization during acupressure. Visualization has long been a common practice among many athletes. Using mental imagery is thought to help prepare the athlete both mentally and physically.
I love that this resonates so well with mental and emotional theories of Chinese medicine, in which the mind and body impact each other and can never be separated.
What activity are we participating in that this movement is occurring? I’m going to guess wrestling?
I mentioned there was one caveat to this book:
The only negative comment I have is that for patients taking this book seriously in 2014, I’m not sure it emphasizes when to seek regular medical attention for serious injuries or internal conditions. I’m imagining that since it was written in 1987, being sued for not being painfully, mind-numbingly clear about visiting the doctor was not a big concern. Or at least, not like it is now. Dr. Nickel does mention seeking other medical care when necessary, but not with the strong wording that most authors would use today.
So if you do recommend this to patients, I’d cover your bum a little more thoroughly and be sure to explain to them clearly when they would need to seek medical attention instead of relying on acupressure. Sounds like it should be obvious, but I like to err on the side of caution.
Overall, this book is so delightful that after returning it to the library, I bought my own copy of Acupressure for Athletes on Amazon.com. It was a penny. One penny!
Every person that I showed this book to got a kick out of it. I’ll be keeping it in my desk drawer at work (next to my scrunchy socks and leotard, duh) for those days when my coworkers and I need a giggle. Or for when I feel stiff before my daily workouts. I can easily do acupressure at my desk and no one will even notice. Why? Oh, because I’ll keep my clothes on, unlike the charming, sweaty people on the front cover 😉
Do you collect unusual or throw-back texts? Do you have a favorite book that cheers you up when you need it? Tell us in the comments below!