Bilateral effects of eight weeks unilateral acupuncture on ankle dorsiflexion strength

Document Type

Conference publication

Publication details

Zhou, S, Xu, G, Wang, Z, Tian, Q, Huang, L, Ao, M, Zhao, M, Cao, L & Liang, J 2012, 'Bilateral effects of eight weeks unilateral acupuncture on ankle dorsiflexion strength', in K Tucker, B Butler & P Hodges (eds), Neuroplasticity, motor control, cutting-edge technology & rehabilitation: Proceedings of the XIXth Congress of the International Society of Electrophysiology and Kinesiology, Brisbane, Qld., 19-21 July, University of Queensland: School of Health & Rehabilitation Sciences & Centre of Clinical Research Excellence in Spinal Pain, Injury & Health, Brisbane, Qld. ISBN: 9780646582283


INTRODUCTION: Previous studies have shown that acupuncture at acupoints on one limb can improve muscle strength of the treated leg as well as the strength of the contralateral leg.

AIM: The aim of this study was to determine whether manual acupuncture or electroacupuncture at non-­‐ acupoints (sham points) could also induce bilateral strength gain.

METHODS: Fifty healthy young men (range 19-­‐27 years) voluntarily participated in the study (5 withdrew) and were randomly allocated into five groups: manual acupuncture (MAcu, n=9) and electroacupuncture (EAcu, n=10) on two acupoints (ST36 and ST39); manual acupuncture (MSham, n=8) and electroacupuncture (ESham, n=8) on two non-­‐acupoints on the tibialis anterior muscle; and control (CON, n=10). The participants (expect the CON) received 15-­‐30 minutes of acupuncture or electroacupuncture on the right leg in each session, three sessions per week for eight weeks, while the CON maintained their normal daily activities. Ankle dorsiflexion strength of both legs was measured in static contractions pre and post the experimental period.

RESULTS: Repeated measures ANOVA with Bonferroni adjustment identified significant and similar strength gains after the treatment (P0.05).

CONCLUSION: This study demonstrated in a randomised and controlled trial that eight weeks unilateral manual acupuncture or electroacupuncture at sham points could induce similar strength gain as those at the ST-­‐36 and ST-­‐39 acupoints in both limbs. These findings further confirmed the previous reports on the effects of acupuncture on muscle strength and produced new evidence that the strength gain might not require needling at specific acupoints or electric stimulation.