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Acute effects of acupuncture on physiological and psychological responses to cycle ergometry

  • Brian R. Karvelas
    Affiliations
    Sports Performance and Technology Laboratory and Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Medical College of Wisconsin and Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Milwaukee, WI, USA
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  • Martin D. Hoffman
    Correspondence
    Reprint requests to Martin D. Hoffman, MD, Sports Performance and Technology Laboratory—111R, 5000 W. National Avenue, Milwaukee, WI 53295.
    Affiliations
    Sports Performance and Technology Laboratory and Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Medical College of Wisconsin and Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Milwaukee, WI, USA
    Search for articles by this author
  • Anne L. Zeni
    Affiliations
    Sports Performance and Technology Laboratory and Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Medical College of Wisconsin and Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Milwaukee, WI, USA
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      Abstract

      Objective: Recent research has reported an improvement in exercise capacity following a series of acupuncture treatments. We examined the immediate effects of a single acupuncture treatment on perceived exertion and physiological responses during submaximal dynamic exercise, and maximal exercise capacity in human subjects.
      Design: Ten healthy subjects (5 men, 5 women) participated in the study. After demonstrating consistency in using the rating of perceived exertion (RPE) scale, each subject underwent graded continuous maximal exercise testing on a cycle ergometer after genuine acupuncture, sham acupuncture, and rest without needles being inserted. Treatment conditions were randomized for each subject, and tests were conducted at least 72 hours apart. Heart rate and oxygen uptake were measured, and RPE was requested during the last 30 seconds of each 3-minute exercise stage. Data were analyzed with repeated-measures analysis of variance.
      Results: There were no statistically significant differences among conditions for RPE, oxygen uptake, heart rate, respiratory exchange ratio, ventilation, and ventilatory equivalent for oxygen at submaximal workloads. In addition, none of the physiological measures at peak exertion or the duration of exercise differed among conditions.
      Conclusions: A single acupuncture treatment has no significant immediate effect on the perceived exertion and physiological responses during submaximal dynamic exercise or upon maximal exercise capacity among healthy individuals.
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