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Acupuncture can be effectively provided to adolescent American football players in their training environment to help prevent delayed-onset muscle soreness (DOMS). In a prospective feasibility study, 42 healthy male participants, aged 13-18 years, were involved in at least one of five treatment days for a total of 147 individual treatment sessions. Fifteen-minute treatments of traditional needle acupuncture were administered at the football field, during which 3-6 needles were placed in muscles of the lower extremity (quadriceps, hamstrings, anterior tibialis, gastrocnemius-soleus complex, medial head of the gastrocnemius, peroneal muscles, or iliotibial band). Overall pre-post treatment effect on DOMS demonstrated significantly improved post-treatment scores.

The Feasibility and Effects of Acupuncture on Muscle Soreness and Sense of Well-being in an Adolescent Football Population. Am J Phys Med Rehabil. 2019 May 23