Acupuncture may help exercise tolerance

July 5, 2010 at 9:17 PM
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HEIDELBERG, Germany, July 5 (UPI) -- German cardiologists suggest acupuncture improves exercise tolerance in heart failure patients.

Researchers at Heidelberg University Hospital in Germany found acupuncture patients could cover a greater distance while walking in the time allowed -- compared to placebo patients. The acupuncture patients recovered more quickly and tended to feel subjectively less exhausted. However, the researchers report measurable work capacity of the heart was unchanged.

The clinical pilot study, published in the journal Heart, compared heart failure patients on conventional medications and in stable condition given acupuncture on points, which according to Traditional Chinese Medicine boost general strength to a control group treated with placebo needles that did not break the skin.

"The blood level of a certain messenger -- tumor necrosis factor alpha -- actually drops after the real acupuncture treatment," study co-author Dr. Arnt Kristen says in a statement. "Since tumor necrosis factor alpha leads to a reduction of muscle mass and muscle strength among other things, this would explain the positive effect on skeletal muscle function."

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