Among the many paths and specialties a Chinese medicine student can focus his or her career on, an increasingly popular area of interest is in sports medicine. Some students go on to become acupuncturists specializing in orthopedics, where they treat patients, often athletes, with ailments specific to the muscle and bone. Many students find this path particularly rewarding if they were once athletes themselves, hoping to heal others as they understand the patients’ experiences and share their pain.
As Chinese medicine works to gain acceptance in the US healthcare system, many practitioners have taken their careers to the next level, breaking into the world of professional sports. Mark Kastner, L.Ac. of Circle of Living Acupuncture Center in San Diego has been practicing for 24 years on athletes of all ages, from high school basketball stars to retired pro football players. He’s treated the Padres and the Chargers, and eventually began working with the L.A. Lakers after treating player, Luke Walton, number four who plays forward.