An observational study of acupuncture and sports fatigue conducted on female swimmers, has found that it improved exercise tolerance, increased haemoglobin and blood glucose concentrations, and promoted quick recovery. The authors concluded that acupuncture can delay the appearance of sports fatigue.
(Impact of Acupuncture Applied to Sanyinjiao on the Movement Ability of Female Athletes. International Journal of Clinical Acupuncture, 2007.)
Researchers have undertaken a randomised controlled trial to assess the effectiveness of acupuncture for shin splints (tibial stress syndrome). Forty athletes with shin splints were divided between three treatment groups: standard sports medicine, acupuncture, and a combined group which received both. Patients received a minimum of two treatments per week for three weeks.
The acupuncture and combined groups reported significantly lower pain levels during all activities and at rest. For overall effectiveness, acupuncture was rated at 72.5%, combined therapy at 54.5%, and standard sports medicine at 46.5%. Self-medication with anti-inflammatories was also significantly lower in the acupuncture and combined groups.
(Acupuncture & Tibial Stress Syndrome [Shin Splints]. Journal of Chinese Medicine 2002 vol 70.)
Researchers have studied the effects of acupuncture for knee pain, specifically patellofemoral pain syndrome (chronic pain around and behind the kneecap). A total of 75 patients were randomly assigned to receive either acupuncture or no treatment. The acupuncture group received eight treatments over four weeks.
Over a one year study and follow-up period, knee pain and function scores improved by 17.2 points in the acupuncture group, compared to only 5.6 points in the control group. The researchers concluded that acupuncture for knee pain gave a clear and long-lasting improvement in pain and function.
(Acupuncture Treatment of Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome. Journal of Alternative & Complementary Medicine, December 1999.)