A study conducted in Taiwan appears to show that ear acupuncture can enhance athletic recovery after strenuous exercise. A total of 24 male university basketball players, mean age 21, were randomly divided into two groups: one received ear acupuncture, whilst the other merely had ear tape applied and so acted as a control. Both groups were then asked to ride an exercise bike to exhaustion.
At 30 and 60 minutes after exercise, both blood lactic acid levels and heart rate, were lower in the acupuncture group. Acupuncture also appeared to increase a subject’s oxygen uptake.
(Effects of Auricular Acupuncture on Heart Rate, Oxygen Consumption and Blood Lactic Acid for Elite Basketball Athletes. American Journal of Chinese Medicine, 2011.)