The human hand is one of the most complex and important organs of the body. Its muscle strength is closely related to motor skills performance and functional capacity.
Data on the muscle strength of a person or population lets researchers keep track of any changes and risks to the health of the subject. The ability to accurately measure the grip strength of the hand is therefore important for treating and supporting athletes and other people.
Athletes are especially reliant on their muscle strength. They need to be able to evaluate the strength of their entire body as quickly as possible.
To this end, a growing number of clinicians are leveraging acupuncture to boost physical performance. They are using the traditional Chinese medicinal treatment to invigorate weakened muscles. (Related: New scientific study sheds light on why acupuncture is so effective for pain control.)
Many studies have analyzed the ergogenic benefits of acupuncture interventions. However, those earlier research focused on the long-term effects on muscle strength.
Researchers from IBRATE Technology College (IBRATE TC) decided to evaluate the short-term effects of acupuncture treatment. Specifically, they looked at the immediate effect on grip strength after a single session.
For their blind study, they secured the assistance of participants who enjoyed good health but were not athletes. The volunteers started by using a mechanical manual dynamometer for the grip strength test.
After recording the results of the test, each participant was assigned to one of three groups: The control group; the sham acupuncture group; and the acupuncture group.
Those in the control group were not given any form of treatment. The sham acupuncture group members received light needling on non-acupoint spots.
Finally, the actual acupuncture group was given the full treatment. Needles were used to treat three important acupoints associated with improving muscle strength.
Following a short break, the participants performed the grip strength test once more. The results of the second test were tallied for comparison between groups and with the first test.
The participants who received real acupuncture interventions displayed big improvements in their muscle strength during the second grip strength test. Meanwhile, the volunteers who got sham treatments only showed a slight increase in their strength.
Finally, the untreated control group lost a little strength during their repeat test. The IBRATE TC researchers theorized that this regression was due to the relaxation of the participants' muscles during the rest period.
Most importantly, the strength-boosting effect took place immediately after the intervention. This suggests acupuncture's short-term benefits are just as valuable as its long-term improvements.
Acupuncture seems to achieve its muscle-strengthening effect through several means. A 2002 study by the Kyung Hee University suggests that interventions suppressed 5-hydroxytryptamine, which causes a drop in the physical performance of both rats and humans.
Based on the results of the experiment, the researchers concluded that acupuncture intervention was able to bring immediate and significant improvement to the handgrip strength of the participants.
MensFitnessFocus.com can tell you a lot more about the physical and health boosts of acupuncture therapy.