Main Article Content

Se In Jang
Wi-Young So


Acupuncture, Electromyography


Acupuncture has been increasingly used in the treatment of muscle damage associated with sports activities. However, studies on the immediate effects of one-time acupuncture on the muscles of athletes are clearly lacking. Thus, this study aimed to examine the effects of acupuncture therapy on the maximal voluntary isometric contraction (MVIC) electromyography (EMG) of the rectus femoris and tibialis anterior muscles. This study was conducted among 20 healthy male college students who had no musculoskeletal disease. The participants were subjected to 3 different experimental conditions and subsequently grouped based on these conditions: real acupuncture, sham acupuncture, and control. A 7-day washout period was implemented to avoid any transient effects on the physiological and psychological conditions of the participants. Subsequently, an electromyogram patch was attached on the most developed area in the middle of the origin and insertion of the rectus femoris and tibialis anterior muscles. The percent MVIC, which was used to standardize the signal from the electromyogram, was determined, and the maximal value from the MVIC of the rectus femoris and tibialis anterior muscles was measured. The MVIC EMG activities of both femoris (F = 6.633, p = 0.003) and tibialis anterior (F = 5.216, p = 0.008) muscles were significantly different among all groups. Accordingly, the results of a posthoc test showed that the real acupuncture group had higher MVIC EMG activities in the femoris (p = 0.002) and tibialis anterior (p = 0.006) muscles compared with the control group. These results suggest that treatment with real acupuncture resulted in significantly higher MVIC EMG activities of the rectus femoris and tibialis anterior muscles than the other treatments. Hence, acupuncture may be helpful in the improvement of muscle strength among athletes in the physical fitness field.


Download data is not yet available.
Abstract 608 | PDF Downloads 293


1. Astin JA, Marie A, Pelletier KR, Hansen E, HaskellWL. A review of the incorporation of complementary and alternative medicine by mainstream physicians. Arch Intern Med 1998;158(21):2303–310.
2. Nichols AW, Harrigan R. Complementary and Alternative medicine usage by intercollegiate athletes. Clin J Sport Med 2006;16(3):232–37.
3. Osborne NJ, Gatt IT. Management of shoulder injuries using dry needling in elite volleyball players. Acupuncture Med 2010;28(1):42–45.
4. Hubscher M, Vogt L, Ziebart T, Banzer W. Immediate effects of acupuncture on strength performance: a randomized, controlled crossover trial. Eur J Appl Physiol 2010;110(2):353–58.
5. Ozerkan KN, Bayraktar B, Sahinkaya T, Goksu OC, Yucesir I, Yildiz S. Comparison of the effectiveness of the traditional acupuncture point, ST.36 and Omura’sST.36 point (True ST.36) needling on the isokinetic knee extension & flexion strength of young soccer players. Acupuncture Electrother Res 2007;32(1-2):71–79.
6. Huang LP, Zhou S, Lu Z, et al. Bilateral effect of uni-lateral electroacupuncture on muscle strength. J Altern Complement Med 2007;13(5):539–46.
7. Larisa AC, Joao EA. The immediate effects of local and adjacent acupuncture on the tibialis anterior muscle: a human study. Chin Med 2008;3:17.
8. Moffet HH. Sham acupuncture may be as efficacious as true acupuncture: a systematic review of clinical trials. J Altern Complement Med 2009;15(3):213–16.
9. Pearson S, Colbert AP, McNames J, Baumgartner M,Hammerschlag R. Electrical skin impedance at acupuncture points. J Altern Complement Med 2007;13(4):409–18.
10. White AR, Filshie J, Cummings TM. Clinical trials of acupuncture: consensus recommendations for optimal treatment, sham controls and blinding. Complement Ther Med 2001;9(4):237–45.
11. Park J, White A, Stevinson C, Ernst E, James M. Validating a new non-penetrating sham acupuncture device: two randomized controlled trials. Acupunct Med 2002;20(4):168–74.
12. Cram JR. The history of surface electromyography.Appl Psychophysiol Biofeedback 2003;28(2):81–91.
13. Hwang YC. Anatomy and classification of acupoints.Probl Vet Med 1992;4(1):12–15.
14. Ma SX. Biochemicla physiology of nitric oxide over acupuncture points and meridians: new approach and perspectives. Zhen Ci Yan Jiu 2008;33(1):47–48.
15. Harris R, Zubieta J, Scott D, Napadow V, Gracely R, Clauw D. Traditional Chinese acupuncture and placebo (sham) acupuncture are differentiated by their effects on μ-opioid receptors (MORs). Neuroimage2009; 47(3):1077–85.
16. Goldman N, Chen M, Fujita T, et al. Adenosine A1 receptors mediate local anti-nociceptive effects of acupuncture. Nat Neuroscience 2010;13(7):883–88.
17. Gao M, Yang HY, Le K, Liu TY, Gu XJ. Effects of manual acupuncture and electroacupuncture on Ca2+ content and Ca2+ -ATPase Activity in sarcoplasmic reticulum of skeletal muscle cells in rats during acute swimming exercise. Zhen Ci Yan Jiu 2008;33(1):13–16.
18. Lo YL, Cui SL, Fook-Chong S. The effect of acupuncture on motor cortex excitability and plasticity.
Neurosci Lett 2005;384:145–49.
19. Biscarini A, Contemori S, Busti D, et al. Knee flexion with quadriceps cocontraction: A new therapeutic exercise for the early stage of ACL rehabilitation. J Biomech 2016;49(16):3855-60.
20. Siciliano G, Simoncini C, Giannotti S, et al. Muscle exercise in limb girdle muscular dystrophies: pitfall advantages. Acta Myol 2015;34(1):3-8.