Michael Cohen woke up to the possibilities of acupuncture when he was told he might not run again after a knee injury. His experience was so profound that he decided to dive deeply into acupuncture and Eastern medicine to learn what this different healing modality is all about. In his journey, he discovered that acupuncture is much more than a way to heal; it can also help enhance athletic performance.
This conversation opened my eyes to some nuanced ways of thinking about energy, balance and harmony.
Here’s what Michael has to say about himself:
I have always been an active person participating in sports and outdoor activities since I was a little kid. I was always small for my age and would be the last person picked for activities and for games. I didn’t let that stop me. I played soccer throughout middle school and high school even though my heart was set on playing football.
The reason I didn’t play football was because my mom worked in an orthopedic surgeon's office. Day after day she saw football players coming into the office with blown out knees, shattered ankles, and displaced shoulders and necks. As a result, mom wouldn’t sign the release form and my American football career and desire to play didn’t get a lift off the ground.
Fast forward to college and I didn’t need a release form signed to play to participate in a sport or activity. So what did I do? I joined the rugby team. Mom was not happy but I sure was!
Rugby trained me discipline, strength, and conditioning. What I realized after 4 years on the pitch was how much I loved to run. After college running became my passion. I ran my first marathon in 2004 and proceeded to run 4 marathons until an occurrence changed my life that brought me to an office that my mom tried to keep me out of.
I tore my ACL on the soccer pitch. It was a full ACL tear, bucket handle meniscus tear, and a partial MCL tear. The injury would prevent me from walking without crutches for the next 4- 6 months and the doctors said I may not be able to ever run marathons again. I decided I would run again and the doctor’s recommendation would not prevent me from doing it.
Four months later the doctor's prediction to not run again was holding true. Every time I would just go out for a simple walk, my knee would swell up for days. Physical therapy and stretching was the doctors only prescription and after 6 months I still was nowhere close to running again. I was becoming depressed and impatient.
My next move was to integrate yoga into my routine. Within the first week of yoga I knew I was in the right place. My mindset began to shift and I was blessed to be in the company of a supportive community. Part of the support I received from my new community I was an introduction to my Rose 🌹.
Rose was an acupuncturist in San Diego, California who allowed me to have a new relationship with medical care. The experience was like nothing I had ever received before. In her office I felt a subtle warmth and sensation in my knee and muscles from the acupuncture which made me know something was happening physically.
After 6 months of consistent acupuncture treatments in conjunction with yoga and physical therapy, I was able to run pain free without any adverse effects or next day swelling. My healing wasn’t a temporary fluke. I continued to run and train every day for the next 5 months and succeeded to run the Palos Verdes full marathon on May 14th, 2011.
What I thought was the finish line turned out to be the starting line. Instead of going back to my career in hospitality, one year later I enrolled in a 4 year program to learn about Eastern Medicine and become an acupuncturist. I am now participating in a life long marathon of health and wellness using acupuncture and eastern medicine.
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