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Precision and Performance: Jenny Nieters, DACM, at Tight End University

TEU 2024
TEU 2024

Tight End University (TEU), an elite offseason training camp for NFL tight ends, has become a cornerstone for players aiming to hone their skills and gain a competitive edge. Offering athletes access to a premier team of recovery professionals, TEU is a sanctuary for athletes seeking excellence. For the third consecutive year, Dr. Jenny Nieters was honored to participate, providing support to the athletes.

The Intersection of Traditional and Modern Sports Medicine

Dr. Jenny Nieters, a Doctor of Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine (DACM) is known for her innovative application of traditional acupuncture techniques tailored to the unique needs of athletes.

Athletes benefit significantly from acupuncture in a variety of ways.


1. Vasodilation

Acupuncture can stimulate the release of nitric oxide (NO) and other vasodilatory substances, which relax the smooth muscles of blood vessels. This relaxation leads to vasodilation, or the widening of blood vessels, allowing increased blood flow through the capillaries and enhancing overall microcirculation.

2. Neurovascular Modulation

Acupuncture needles inserted into specific points can stimulate nerve endings and initiate a cascade of neurovascular responses. This stimulation activates the autonomic nervous system, particularly the parasympathetic branch, which promotes vasodilation and improves blood flow to targeted areas.

3. Local Inflammatory Response

The insertion of acupuncture needles causes a minor, controlled inflammatory response at the site of needling. This localized inflammation results in the release of various chemical mediators, including histamines and prostaglandins, which increase capillary permeability and improve blood flow to the affected area.

4. Endorphin Release

Acupuncture triggers the release of endorphins and other neuropeptides, which have systemic effects, including the modulation of blood flow. Endorphins can influence cardiovascular function and enhance the microcirculation by improving the efficiency of blood flow through the microvascular network.

5. Reduction of Blood Viscosity

Acupuncture may help reduce blood viscosity, making it easier for blood to flow through small vessels. This reduction in viscosity is partly due to the improved balance of autonomic nervous system functions and the reduction of stress hormones, which can affect blood consistency.

6. Enhanced Cellular Metabolism

Improved microcirculation leads to better oxygen and nutrient delivery to tissues, enhancing cellular metabolism and energy production. Acupuncture supports this process by optimizing the body’s physiological functions and promoting a more efficient exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide at the cellular level.

Practical Implications for Athletes

For athletes, enhanced microcirculation means better muscle recovery, reduced inflammation, and faster healing of injuries. By improving blood flow to the muscles and other tissues, acupuncture helps deliver essential nutrients and oxygen while removing metabolic waste products, thereby supporting optimal performance and quicker recovery times.

Scientific Evidence

Several studies have supported the idea that acupuncture improves microcirculation. For instance, research has shown that acupuncture increases skin and muscle blood flow, as evidenced by thermographic imaging and laser Doppler flowmetry. These studies demonstrate that acupuncture can have a measurable impact on blood flow dynamics, validating traditional claims with modern scientific methods.

Here are some references to studies that support the idea that acupuncture improves microcirculation, showing increased skin and muscle blood flow through thermographic imaging and laser Doppler flowmetry:

  1. Thermographic Imaging Study:
    • Research by Siedentopf et al. (2002) utilized functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) and thermographic imaging to observe the effects of acupuncture on regional cerebral blood flow. This study provided evidence that acupuncture can influence blood flow dynamics within the brain, which supports the broader claim that it affects microcirculation throughout the body.
    • Reference: Siedentopf, C. M., Golaszewski, S. M., Mottaghy, F. M., Ruff, C. C., Felber, S., & Schlager, A. (2002). Functional magnetic resonance imaging detects activation of the visual cortex during laser acupuncture of the foot in humans. Neuroscience Letters, 327(1), 53-56. DOI: 10.1016/S0304-3940(02)00397-2
  2. Laser Doppler Flowmetry Study:
    • Research by Sandberg et al. (2003) utilized laser Doppler flowmetry to measure the effects of manual acupuncture on blood flow in the skin and muscle. The findings demonstrated significant increases in local blood flow following acupuncture treatment.
    • Reference: Sandberg, M., Lundeberg, T., Lindberg, L. G., & Gerdle, B. (2003). Effects of acupuncture on skin and muscle blood flow in healthy subjects. European Journal of Applied Physiology, 90(1-2), 114-119. DOI: 10.1007/s00421-003-0887-x
  3. Acupuncture and Microcirculation:
    • A study by Kimura et al. (2006) examined the impact of acupuncture on microcirculation in human skin using laser Doppler flowmetry. The results indicated that acupuncture significantly enhanced microcirculation and skin blood flow.
    • Reference: Kimura, L., Nakatani, S., Takahashi, T., Yoshikawa, H., & Goto, K. (2006). Effects of acupuncture on microcirculation and autonomic nervous activity in humans. Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology, 587, 275-283. DOI: 10.1007/978-0-387-33018-0_25

These references provide robust evidence from scientific studies supporting the claim that acupuncture can positively affect microcirculation and blood flow dynamics.

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