Researchers from the Goethe-University in Frankfurt, Germany have found that even just one acupuncture treatment can increase the strength of leg muscles. The research was undertaken in the Department of Sports Medicine and involved a total of 33 athletes. Specifically it was the quadriceps muscle that was observed in the research to improve isometric strength. Acupuncture has been used for centuries to improve muscle tone and strength anywhere in the body, such as in stroke rehabilitation.
This research may have come about when the west realized that the Chinese medical teams were using acupuncture on a number of their Olympiads including those participating in power lifting. Traditional Chinese medical diagnosis views that the spleen controls the muscles.
The spleen is also responsible for the processing of food nutrients so if this function weakened for some reason, the tone and strength of the muscles will suffer. This is why for example, Chinese herbs like huang qi (Astragalus) , which strengthen the spleen, have been used for centuries to rehabilitate wasted muscles after having had a stroke.
Acupuncture points like stomach 36, zusanli, are also useful to strengthen leg muscles and has been used to improve the endurance of marathon runners.
Modern research has helped confirm that acupuncture can improve athletic performance as well as be used to restoring neuromuscular function such as seen post injuries when the muscles have weakened from lack of use.