November 1, 2004  
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All-Pro Safety Credits Acupuncture With Prolonging His Career

By Editorial Staff

Starting 100 consecutive games is a rare accomplishment in the National Football League. Tony Parrish, a safety with the San Francisco 49ers, recently reached that mark in October, when he started his 100 th game against the St.

Louis Rams.

"One hundred is a number where you step back and say, "I've been blessed," he told the San Jose Mercury News.1 Parrish's streak almost ended in December 2002, however, when he injured the ligaments in his left elbow. With a game against the Dallas Cowboys looming, Parrish turned to Pu Lin Liang, an acupuncturist in San Francisco, to try and help the ligaments heal faster. The treatment, which combined electroacupuncture and a series of herbal creams, worked better than he - or anyone else on the team - expected.

"I was just grasping at straws," he recalled. "I remember sitting on the plane and watching the swelling in my elbow shrink before my very eyes. I had an elbow brace custom-built for that game, but the swelling went down so much that it didn't fit anymore." Parrish ended up starting against the Cowboys and intercepted two passes, helping the 49ers beat Dallas in a close game. Since that first experience with acupuncture, he has continued to use it to help get through a variety of ailments, including groin pulls, a pulled hip muscle, and a torn calf muscle.

Parrish is one of at least three 49ers who have used acupuncture during the season to help injuries heal faster. Left tackle Kwame Harris credited acupuncture with helping him get back on the playing field after suffering injuries to his left knee and left ankle.2 Quarterback Tim Rattay, meanwhile, has incorporated acupuncture into his therapy to help treat a nagging injury to his right shoulder - and like Parrish, the results of care have provided immediate benefits. On Oct. 13, Rattay was named the NFC's Offensive Player of the Week for the first time in his career, leading the 49ers to their first win of the season over the Arizona Cardinals.

  1. Brown D. Rattay practices, closer to return. San Jose Mercury News, Sept. 30, 2004.
  2. Veteran Smith still a force. Contra Costa Times, Oct. 9, 2004.



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