From Acupuncture to Ozone Therapy: Exploring Uses of Complementary and Alternative Medicines in Elite Sport
We draw on data from interviews with 27 leading sports medicine physicians (including doctors, physiotherapists and orthopaedic surgeons) working in elite football and cycling in the UK. During interviews we asked specifically about the incidence and management of musculoskeletal injuries and considered factors influencing decision-making including both formal treatment protocols and pathways and informal healing practices that they were engaged in.
Our aims in this paper are to examine (i) when non-orthodox therapies are considered as a therapeutic option in elite sport (ii) why elite athletes (and/or their medical teams) turn to these therapies in the management of sports injuries, and (iii) how they are positioned in relation to orthodox biomedical therapies. We end by reflecting on whether current CAM/biomedicine theories adequately account for the use of non-orthodox therapies in the context of elite sport medicine.