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Acupuncture treatment after intense exercise can alleviate delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) and improve muscle recovery, concludes a systematic review by Chinese authors. Six RCTs with 210 participants were included in their meta-analysis, and the results showed that post-exercise acupuncture significantly decreased muscle soreness as well as serum levels of creatine kinase (a marker of muscle damage), and this was accompanied by an improvement in muscle strength. The effects of acupuncture were long-lasting, and effect size tended to accumulate over time, showing a maximum efficacy on alleviating DOMS at 72 hours post exercise.

Does Acupuncture Benefit Delayed-Onset Muscle Soreness After Strenuous Exercise? A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Front Physiol. 2020 Jul 17;11:666.