University researchers in Sydney, Australia undertaking a systematic review, have found preliminary evidence for the usefulness of acupuncture to enhance exercise performance and post-workout recovery. They looked at four trials, of which three set out to determine the effect of acupuncture on exercise performance. One of these trials found significant enhancements in peak power output and blood pressure compared to controls. Two trials could find no effect on performance. The fourth trial evaluated the effect of acupuncture on post-exercise recovery, and found that heart rate, oxygen consumption and blood lactate were significantly lowered following acupuncture, compared with controls.
The authors recommend more high-quality studies, as there are limitations within existing literature.
(Effect of Acute Acupuncture Treatment on Exercise Performance and Postexercise Recovery: A Systematic Review. Journal of Altern & Complementary Medicine, 14 January 2013.)