A former Rugby player is out to show the benefits of Chinese medicine on the field of play.

Nuno Pestana and his company Naturalmed will be providing treatment for players this weekend at the Heart of Wales 7s in Llanidloes.

Born in Australia, Nuno was highly active as a youth taking part in martial arts before beginning to play youth rugby in Portugal at 14.

He enjoyed success playing for Lisbon club OS Belenenses, winning several national championships, representing Portugal at under 16s and under 18s but missed out on going to the European Championships due to injury.

It was at this point Nuno said he “reconsidered everything, I stopped playing rugby I was a bit frustrated.”

It was after an injury playing that Nuno first saw the benefit of Chinese medicine: “I got an injury in my knee where I had to stop for almost 5 months, this was after the national championship final.

“I was using crutches, I tried physiotherapy and eventually my dad suggested to me ‘why don’t you try acupuncture?’

“Three months later I was playing again.”

This experience stayed with Nuno when searching for course options after leaving High School. He went on to study at a satellite campus of the Chengdu University of Traditional Chinese Medicine, interning for a year in China before coming to practice in the UK.

Nuno found rugby again when he moved to Wales after visiting the Trefeglwys agricultural show: “I remember Llanidloes RFC had a little stand there where you could have some games to play.

“I then did some of the games, the guys started chatting with me, I started telling them my story and they said, ‘why don't you just come up to Cae Hafren?’

“I did it and a month later I was playing for the team.”

Nuno says he really enjoyed his time playing for Llanidloes making many friends over the seasons he played there.

During this time, his love for Chinese medicine and rugby came together when he helped other players injuries with acupuncture, although he says it took a little time for them to get on board: “Most people have heard of acupuncture before, some of them are a bit skeptical, some are a bit unsure, because our relationship with needles is usually vaccinations as a kid or the dentist.

“There’s this pre-conceived idea that it’s going to hurt, that it’s going to be uncomfortable but that’s not the case. All the patients I treated where happy with the treatments and the results”

Nuno is now helping at the Heart of Wales 7s free of charge and is offering help not only match day injuries but to help players with chronic injuries: “Anything that’s acute injuries or chronic so long as it’s not life threatening, I think I can do quite a lot for the players.

“If it’s something like a torn muscle, a tendon, an ankle, shoulder- this is something I can help with. Acupuncture can work very quickly, very effectively.”

Nuno hopes that the use of acupuncture in sporting injuries can become more accepted: “This is something that has been changing recently since the 2008 Olympics, you’ve seen lots of players and athletes win medal and break records and one of the reasons is they have started a regimen of Chinese medical treatments to improve their sports ability. It’s not just injuries and recovery but optimisation.”