Graduation Term


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


School of Kinesiology and Recreation

Committee Chair

Kelly R Laurson


Delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) is a type of muscle injury that can occur following moderate-to-high intensity physical activity. More recently, acupuncture has been considered as an alternative treatment method for muscle injury, which includes DOMS. However, there have been no specific investigations into potential differences when using traditional acupuncture (points based on traditional Chinese medicine theory), Ashi-acupuncture (points not on Chinese meridian, also known as tender points), or sham-acupuncture (superficial points, or points neither on the Chinese meridian nor the tender points) for treatment of DOMS. PURPOSE: To investigate the effectiveness of acupuncture treatment with traditional acupoints, Ashi points, and sham acupuncture to treat exercise-induced DOMS. METHODS: Data collected through November 2023 were reviewed, sourced from three digital databases. The study focused on reviewing the acupuncture points selection and location and treatment methods, pain measured on a visual analog scale (VAS) right after intervention was set as outcome. Data was compiled and evaluated using meta-analyses. RESULTS: A total of six articles were included. The results showed that there were no significant differences between VAS for all groups (all p>0.05). The standardized mean difference (SMD) of the VAS right after treatment between traditional acupuncture and the Ashi-points was 0.72 (95% CI: -7.6: 9.0). Similarly, comparisons of traditional acupuncture and other needle treatments (SMD=-1.3, 95%CI: -8. 0:, 4.7) and control groups (SMD = 1.9, 95%CI: -4.1: 8.3) were also not significantly different. CONCLUSION: Acupuncture was not an effective treatment for DOMS, regardless of use. Ashi, traditional, or sham acupuncture treatment.


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