European Journal of Applied Physiology

, Volume 109, Issue 3, pp 545–550 | Cite as

Effects of acupuncture and heating on blood volume and oxygen saturation of human Achilles tendon in vivo

  • Keitaro KuboEmail author
  • Hiroyoshi Yajima
  • Miho Takayama
  • Toshihiro Ikebukuro
  • Hideyuki Mizoguchi
  • Nobuari Takakura
Short Communication


The purpose of this study was to investigate the effects of acupuncture (dry needling) and heating (application of hot pack) treatments on the blood volume and oxygen saturation of the human Achilles tendon in vivo. Nine healthy males participated in this study. During the treatments (acupuncture and heating; both 10 min) and recovery period (30 min), the blood volume and oxygen saturation of the Achilles tendon were measured using red laser lights. During needle insertion, the blood volume and oxygen saturation of the tendon increased significantly from the pre-treatment level and these values remained high throughout the 30-min recovery period. During heating treatment, the blood volume and oxygen saturation of the tendon also increased significantly. Although the increased blood volume was not maintained after removal of the hot pack, the oxygen saturation remained significantly elevated throughout the 30-min recovery period. These results suggested that acupuncture and heating treatments enhanced the blood flow in the tendon. The long-lasting increase, especially with acupuncture treatment, in the blood supply to the tendon implies that these treatments may have therapeutic effects on injured tendons.


Needle Hot pack Recovery Plantar flexors 



This study was supported by the Mikiya Science and Technology Foundation and a Grant-in-Aid for Young Scientists (A) (18680046 to K. Kubo) from Japan Society for the Promotion of Science.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Keitaro Kubo
    • 1
    Email author
  • Hiroyoshi Yajima
    • 2
    • 3
  • Miho Takayama
    • 2
    • 3
  • Toshihiro Ikebukuro
    • 4
  • Hideyuki Mizoguchi
    • 5
  • Nobuari Takakura
    • 2
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Life Science (Sports Sciences)University of TokyoTokyoJapan
  2. 2.Department of Acupuncture and Moxibustion, Faculty of Health SciencesTokyo Ariake University of Medical and Health SciencesTokyoJapan
  3. 3.Second Department of PhysiologyShowa University School of MedicineTokyoJapan
  4. 4.Department of Physical EducationKokushikan UniversityTokyoJapan
  5. 5.Hanada College, Japanese School of Acupuncture, Moxibustion and PhysiotherapyTokyoJapan

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