Skip to main content
Log in

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

  • Short Communication
  • Published:
European Journal of Applied Physiology Aims and scope Submit manuscript

Abstract

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.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in via an institution to check access.

Access this article

Price excludes VAT (USA)
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.

Instant access to the full article PDF.

Fig. 1
Fig. 2
Fig. 3

References

  • Borromeo CN, Ryan JL, Marchetto PA, Peterson R, Bove AA (1997) Hyperbaric oxygen therapy for acute ankle sprains. Am J Sports Med 25:619–625

    Article  CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Boutouyrie P, Corvisier R, Azizi M, Lemoine D, Laloux B, Hallouin MC, Laurent S (2001) Effects of acupuncture on radial artery hemodynamics: controlled trials in sensitized and naïve subjects. Am J Physiol Heart Circ Physiol 280:H628–H633

    CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Carr AJ, Norris SH (1989) The blood supply of the calcaneal tendon. J Bone Joint Surg Br 71B:100–101

    Google Scholar 

  • Giombini A, Di Cesare A, Casciello G, Sorrenti D, Dragoni S, Gabriele P (2002) Hyperthermia at 434 MHz in the treatment of overuse sport tendinopathies: a randomized controlled clinical trial. Int J Sports Med 23:207–211

    Article  CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Giombini A, Giovannini V, Di Cesare A, Pacetti P, Ichinoseki-Sekine N, Shiraishi M, Naito H, Maffulli N (2007) Hyperthermia induced by microwave diathermy in the management of muscle and tendon injuries. Br Med Bull 83:379–396

    Article  CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Inoue M, Katayama K, Hojo T, Yano T, Katsumi Y (2001) The effects of electrical acupuncture to patellar tendon and electrical stimulation to femoral nerve on the blood flow of the patellar tendon in rat. Jpn J Phys Fit Sports Med 50:119–128

    Google Scholar 

  • Kashiba H, Ueda Y (1991) Acupuncture to the skin induces release of substance P and calcitonin gene-related peptide from peripheral terminals of primary sensory neurons in the rat. Am J Clin Med 19:189–197

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Kashima S (2003) Spectroscopic measurement of blood volume and its oxygenation in a small volume of tissue using red laser lights and differential calculation between two point detections. Opt Laser Technol 35:485–489

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Kleinhenz J, Streitberger K, Windeler J, Gubbacher A, Mavridis G, Martin E (1999) Randomised clinical trial comparing the effects of acupuncture and a newly designed placebo needle in rotator cuff tendonitis. Pain 83:235–241

    Article  CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Kubo K, Ikebukuro T, Tsunoda N, Kanehisa H (2008a) Changes in oxygen consumption of human muscle and tendon following repeat muscle contractions. Eur J Appl Physiol 104:859–866

    Article  CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Kubo K, Ikebukuro T, Tsunoda N, Kanehisa H (2008b) Noninvasive measures of blood volume and oxygen saturation of human Achilles tendon by red laser lights. Acta Physiol 193:257–264

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  • LaVan FB, Myers B (1990) Oxygen and wound healing. Clin Plast Surg 17:463–472

    CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Loaiza LA, Yamaguchi S, Ito M, Ohshima N (2002) Electroacupuncture stimulation to muscle afferents in anesthetized rats modulates the blood flow to the knee joint through autonomic reflexes and nitric oxide. Auton Neurosci 97:103–109

    Article  CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Sandberg M, Lundeberg T, Lindberg LG, Gerdle B (2003) Effects of acupuncture on skin and muscle blood flow in healthy subjects. Eur J Appl Physiol 90:114–119

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Sandmeier R, Renstrom P (1997) Diagnosis and treatment of chronic tendon disorders in sports. Scand J Med Sci Sports 7:96–106

    Article  CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Sato A, Sato Y, Shimura M, Uchida S (2000) Calcitonin-generated peptide produces skeletal muscle vasodilation following antidromic stimulation of unmyelinated afferents in the dorsal roots in rats. Neurosci Lett 283:137–140

    Article  CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Sekins KM, Lehmann JF, Esselman P, Dundore D, Emery AF, Delateur BJ, Nelp WP (1984) Local muscle blood flow and temperature responses to 915 MHz diathermy as simultaneously measured and numerically predicted. Arch Phys Med Rehabil 65:1–7

    CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

Download references

Acknowledgments

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.

Author information

Authors and Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Keitaro Kubo.

Additional information

Communicated by Susan Ward.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Kubo, K., Yajima, H., Takayama, M. et al. Effects of acupuncture and heating on blood volume and oxygen saturation of human Achilles tendon in vivo. Eur J Appl Physiol 109, 545–550 (2010). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00421-010-1368-z

Download citation

  • Accepted:

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s00421-010-1368-z

Keywords

Navigation