Japanese researchers show that acupuncture can improve skeletal muscle atrophy

Image: Steve-h via Flickr

Japanese researchers have revealed study results that show how acupuncture therapy mitigates skeletal muscle loss and holds promise for those seeking improved mobility through muscle rejuvenation.

Akiko Onda, an acupuncturist and graduate student at the Waseda University School of Sport Sciences presented the findings at the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology annual meeting, part of Experimental Biology 2012. She said, “It is my hope that this study will demonstrate acupuncture’s feasibility with regard to improving health among the elderly and medical patients. Our findings could identify acupuncture as the primary nonpharmacological treatment to prevent skeletal muscle atrophy in the future.”

Skeletal muscle atrophy is the loss of skeletal muscle, more common amongst the elderly and the sick. The usual recommendations to stave off muscle atrophy are exercise, improved nutrition and mechanical stimulation, but this can be difficult for the frail or those who have severe medical conditions.

Onda insists an alternative nonpharmacological intervention is urgently required, and so she and her collaborators in two labs at Waseda University decided to explore how acupuncture affects skeletal muscle at the molecular level. Her  team found that decreases in muscle mass in mice can be significantly reversed by acupuncture.

“Our results have uncovered one molecular mechanism responsible for the efficacy of acupuncture treatment and clarified its usefulness in preventing skeletal muscle atrophy in mice,” Onda said. “We hope to introduce acupuncture as a new strategy for preventing skeletal muscle atrophy in the future. Further investigations into its molecular mechanisms will help to decrease the medical community’s suspicion of acupuncture and provide us with a better understanding of how acupuncture treatment prevents skeletal muscle atrophy.”


Japanese Researchers Show that Acupuncture can Improve Skeletal Muscle Atrophy.  Newswise.  Retrieved April 24, 2012, from http://www.newswise.com/articles/japanese-researchers-show-that-acupuncture-can-improve-skeletal-muscle-atrophy

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