Muscle atrophy, or disuse atrophy, is defined as a decrease in the mass of the muscle; it can be a partial or complete wasting away of muscle. Muscle atrophy can be opposed by the signaling pathways which induce muscle hypertrophy, or an increase in muscle size. Therefore one way in which exercise induces an increase in muscle mass is to downregulate the pathways which have the opposite effect.Loss of skeletal muscle mass has a profound effect on the ability of the elderly and the sick to engage in physical activity. Because skeletal muscle has high plasticity, interventions such as exercise training, improved nutrition and mechanical stimulation are often recommended to prevent atrophy. Unfortunately, these can be challenging goals for those who are already frail or who have severe medical conditions.

Can acupuncture help?

Akiko Onda, an acupuncturist and graduate student at the Waseda University School of Sport Sciences, who has been conducting a series of studies on skeletal muscle atrophy for the past four years.Her team of Japanese researchers revealed study results at the Experimental Biology 2012 meeting that show how acupuncture therapy mitigates skeletal muscle loss and holds promise for those seeking improved mobility through muscle rejuvenation.

Onda said. "We hope to introduce acupuncture as a new strategy for preventing skeletal muscle atrophy in the future.
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Reference:Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB),