The Efficacy of Acupuncture Versus Non-Penetrating Sham Acupuncture in Relieving Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS) in Healthy Human Adults
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A single-blinded, randomized controlled study was conducted, enrolling thirty-six healthy adults who had not recently participated in forearm strengthening or occupations/hobbies involving repeated forceful wrist motion. A fatiguing wrist extension exercise protocol was completed to induce delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS). Group one received no treatment. Group two received acupuncture (ACU). Group three received sham acupuncture (S-ACU) with non-penetrating needles. Outcomes included grip strength, visual analogue scale for pain (VAS) and pain pressure threshold (PPT). Skin conductance (SC), skin temperature (ST) and perfusion (BF) were recorded to quantify the sympathetic nervous system response to treatment. The ACU group showed a significant increase in ipsilateral BF and in bilateral SC. The ACU group showed a significant decrease in distal ST bilaterally. The ACU and S-ACU groups showed decreased ipsilateral proximal ST. The exercise protocol did not consistently produce DOMS. The sample size of 36 may not have yielded sufficient statistical power.