Five Alternative Therapies Athletes Use to Boost Their Performance & Recovery

If you play sports or regularly go to the gym, you will be all too familiar with the soreness and stiffness that you feel in your muscles the day after an intense workout. Fortunately, these symptoms are short-lived as your body is pretty good at quickly and effectively healing itself. 

However, if you are an athlete or into endurance sports, you may find that you need a little helping hand when it comes to the recovery process, as well as boosting your overall performance. 

Enter the world of alternative therapies.

From the latest stem cell treatment to the celebrity trend of cupping, keep reading to discover the top five alternative therapies that athletes use to boost their performance and their recovery.

Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy

Also known as HBOT, hyperbaric oxygen therapy involves a chamber where you are able to breathe over 3 times as much oxygen as is found in the normal air that you breathe in every day. 

By increasing the amount of oxygen in the blood, it can be used to effectively accelerate wound healing as oxygen is known for its ability to support the growth of new blood vessels. 

It is recommended that you have 3 sessions per week for optimal results. 

Recovery rating: 4/5

Stem Cell Therapy 

Stem cells are responsible for repairing damaged tissues and are therefore highly effective at treating injured areas of the body.

Stem cell therapy is a type of regenerative medicine that involves stem cells being injected into the affected area of the body in order to promote healing and reduce pain. 

This treatment is extremely safe, non-invasive and is ideal for sports-related musculoskeletal injuries. 

Recovery rating: 5/5


Gwyneth Paltrow is a known fan of this treatment, but it is also hugely popular with athletes and those who work out often. A non-invasive procedure, cupping, which is actually a type of acupuncture, is said to promote natural healing within the body by lighting a flammable liquid inside a cup and then, when the flame goes out, placing the rim of the cup onto the affected areas for a period of between 5-10 minutes. 

This treatment works by increasing blood flow to the area, reducing inflammation and promoting healing. 

Recovery rating: 3/5

Coconut products

For those who prefer a nutritional based therapy for their aches and pains, consuming an abundance of coconuts or coconut-based foods and drinks can be effective. 

Coconuts are said to be highly valuable to the muscle recovery process in the body, containing electrolytes and potassium which is known for reducing the downtime needed between workouts. 

Coconut water can be much more effective at helping athletes recover from working out than traditional sports and energy drinks that are often high in sugar. 

Recovery rating: 2/5

Massage & other relaxation techniques

Massage is a well-known technique for helping athletes to recover from competing, helping to alleviate tense muscles and reduce any pain or discomfort they may be experiencing. 

Research has shown that people who undergo regular massages have lower levels of cytokines, a compound that actively causes inflammation, than those that don’t.

Other popular relaxation techniques that can help you recover after a workout include yoga, meditation and flotation tanks. 

Recovery rating: 3/5

Marcelo Villa

About Marcelo Villa

Marcelo is an associate editor at The Sports Daily, and has covered the San Diego Chargers for Bleacher Report. He also writes for Sportsdirect Inc.