ergo-log.com

Definition: "An ergogenic aid is any substance or phenomenon that enhances performance "

about us

/

contact

/

19.01.2010


'Athlete reached the top with acupuncture'

Acupuncture isn't doping, but it can help athletes to win medals. That's the message of a case that the German professor Taras Usichenko, of Ernst Moritz Arndt University, has published in Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine. The case study describes an anonymous athlete, who became the German pentathlon champion thanks to seven years of acupuncture treatment.

'Athlete reached the top with acupuncture'
The modern pentathlon consists of fencing, pistol shooting, 200 metres swimming, hurdles and a 3-kilometre run. A 20-year old pentathlete, who at the time was up for a position in the national team, approached an acupuncturist about complaints that were hampering his performance.

The athlete it's not clear from the article whether it's a man or a woman had a problem with a stiff shoulder when swimming. The acupuncturist inserted needles at LI4, L11, L14, TH5 and GB21, all acupuncture points. The athlete's arms tired quickly when fencing, so the acupuncturist put needles in LI4, L10, L11 and TH 5. To help the problem of keeping the gun-holding arm still while shooting, needles were place in H7 and L14. And to help the athlete run faster, needles were inserted in ST36 and GB34 just before running started.


'Athlete reached the top with acupuncture'


As the 7 years of treatment progressed the athlete's performance improved. The figure below shows how much.


'Athlete reached the top with acupuncture'


So was this due to the training? Was it due to the treatment? Or did the treatment have a placebo effect? The researchers have no clear answer to these questions, but they are convinced of the effectiveness of acupuncture.

The researchers do consider the issue of whether acupuncture is a form of 'doping'. No, they say. Acupuncture does not fulfil the second criterion on world doping authority Wada's list. There's no "medical or other scientific evidence, pharmacological effect or experience that the use of the substance or method represents an actual or potential health risk to the athlete".

Source:
Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2011;2011:265607.