Probably the biggest thing Traditional Chinese Medicine has delivered to Western cultures is acupuncture. Its ability to act as a healing force is unmatched in how many conditions it is implied to help treat. Studies come along constantly, and a new one holds great news for anyone who needs to rejuvenate their muscles and improve mobility.
Last Monday, a team of researchers revealed at a major medical meeting that acupuncture therapy mitigates skeletal muscle loss. This has big implications for improving health among older adults and medical patients who have weakened muscles.
In fact, they believe acupuncture is the main alternative treatment for dealing with skeletal muscle atrophy. Atrophy is the partial or complete wasting away of a part of the body.
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Loss of muscle mass has a profound effect on the ability of many people to engage in physical activity. One preferred way to prevent atrophy is to use such interventions as exercise training, improved nutrition and mechanical stimulation. But these can be quite challenging for those who are already frail or who have severe medical conditions.
The researchers strongly believe that an alternative approach is urgently needed for these individuals. And that is why they decided to explore how acupuncture affects skeletal muscle at the molecular level. And there, they found very encouraging results.
We’ll forgo the very technical language, but let’s just say there are certain ways that scientists can determine muscle mass and muscle structure. It was a preliminary study, performed on mice, as is the norm, and it found that the cellular changes that cause muscle loss could be “significantly reversed by acupuncture.”
What many don’t know is that the World Health Organization has endorsed acupuncture as a treatment for a variety of diseases. Yet many people (doctors and patients, alike) regard it suspiciously. And researchers have not dipped very much into understanding the molecular ways acupuncture works in the body.
The new study found one such molecular mechanism responsible for acupuncture’s effectiveness. It was found, in this case, very useful in preventing skeletal muscle atrophy in mice. While more studies will be needed in the future to address this link, older adults dealing with this health issue may find help in the offices of a Chinese medicine practitioner or licensed and experienced acupuncturist.