The objective of this study was to investigate the immediate effects of electroacupuncture and manual acupuncture on hip flexion range of motion (ROM), knee joint (flexion replication at 15° and 45°) and quadriceps (strength and activation) function. Forty-five neurologically healthy adults participated in this randomized controlled laboratory study. Straight leg raise test, modified Thomas test, and hip abductors strength test were performed to determine acupoints. Afterwards, one of three 15-min treatments (control-no treatment, electroacupuncture, or manual acupuncture) was randomly applied using determined acupoints. Measurements (hip flexion ROM, and knee joint and quadriceps function) were recorded at baseline, and at 0, 20, and 40 min post treatment. Both electroacupuncture (4.0°, ES = 0.41) and manual acupuncture (5.4°, ES = 0.95) treatment immediately increased hip flexion ROM, and the increased values persisted for 40-min ( = 0.01). Knee flexion replication (at 15°: = 0.17; 45°: = 0.19) and quadriceps activation ( = 0.71) did not change at any of the time points. Post-treatment, both electroacupuncture and manual acupuncture decreased quadriceps strength at 0-min (electroacupuncture: 9.2%, < 0.0001, ES = 0.60) and 40-min (electroacupuncture: 7.3%, = 0.005, ES = 0.55; manual acupuncture: 8.7%, = 0.01, ES = 0.54). A single session of either electroacupuncture or manual acupuncture treatment (selected acupoints based on physical examination) may immediately improve joint flexibility but reduce muscle strength.
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