Acupuncture treatment is one of the conditioning methods in the competition field. Athletes who are forced in regularly intensive training often induced deteriorating of condition. Good conditions are adjusted by interaction of immune system, nervous system and endocrine system. Neutrophils and lymphocytes which are blood components prevent infections of the human body in various ways. Intensive training causes an increase of neutrophils, a decrease of lymphocytes and a negative impact on the immune functions. It has been reported that acupuncture stimulation could be involved in the coordination of the immune system. Therefore, acupuncture treatment could be important to keep physical condition and participate physical activity according to the plan without deteriorating of condition. It may be useful not only for athletes but also for the general public who train for the purpose of health and sports enthusiasts. The purpose of this study was to examine the effect of acupuncture stimulation on fluctuation of neutrophils and lymphocytes by the transient high-intensity exercise.
Method : Twelve healthy men (23.6±O.3 yr [±SE]) participated in this study. Subjects exercised on bicycle ergometer for 60 minutes at 75% of their VO2max. Acupuncture treatment was applied at LU6 (Kongzui), LI 4 (Hegu), ST 36 (Zusanli), and ST 6 (Jiache), for 30 min after the exercise. Blood samples were taken before exercise, immediately after exercise, hourly after exercise until 4 hours and 24 hours after exercise. Leukocyte, neutrophils, lymphocytes, Th cells and Tc cells were measured from the blood samples.
Result : The neutrophils significantly increased from Post 1h to Post 4h in the both trials (P < 0.05). However the neutrophils was significantly lower in the acupuncture group than in the control group at Post 1h and Post 3h (P < 0.05). The lymphocytes significantly increased from immediately after exercise to Post 24h in the control trial, and increased significantly only at Post 1h to Post 3h in the acupuncture trail (P<0.05). The Th cells significantly decreased from Post 1h to Post 24h in the control trial and decreased significantly only at Post 1h, 2h and 24h in the acupuncture trail (P < 0.05).
Conclusion : These results suggested that acupuncture stimulation may reduce the increase of neutrophils and the decrease of lymphocyte and Th cells caused by high-intensity exercise. These results indicated that acupuncture stimulation may promote the recovery from high-intensity exercise.