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Talking to Patients About Healthy Aging
I've noticed that a particular category of patients seems to make up more and more of my practice – they work out, but still experience lots of degenerative joint disease (DJD) issues.
5 Ways to Occupy Occupational Health
Despite the progress that has been made to better protect workers, occupational health and safety remains a priority area for many national governmental organizations due to the widespread problem of occupationally related morbidity and mortality.
The X Factor in Clinical Research: The Patient
It was the great baseball legend, former New York Yankees catcher Yogi Berra – he of countless aphorisms, each with a mind-bending twist – who once declared, "You can observe a lot by watching."
Blaming the Gluteus Medius, Overlooking the Deltoid
The gluteus medius (Gmed) is commonly written about, strengthened and blamed for many conditions, and rightfully so. After all, the Gmed plays a role in pelvic stability, hip motor control and lower-quarter dynamic movements.
AOMA Strengthens Leadership Team
AOMA Graduate School of Integrative Medicine, a leading college of acupuncture & herbal medicine, announced the appointment of Donna LaPoint Hurta, MBA as the new VP of Finance & Operations this Fall.
The Tao of Gender
If you think gender is as simple as having a new client check off the "male" or "female" box on your intake form, we hope this article will expand your understanding and thus the reach of your health care.
Calcium Helps Prevent Colorectal Cancer
Over the past 25 to 30 years, studies have suggested calcium may confer protection against colorectal cancer.
To The Finish Line With the Help of TCM
When acupuncturist Eddy De Smedt pursued a career in Traditional Chinese Medicine, he knew he wanted to make a difference.
Simple Ways To Find True Happiness
Patients in our clinics are always seeking happiness. As their health advocate, we need to ensure we inform them that in order to find happiness, they have to make sure to identify what makes them happy in the first place.
Help Patients Achieve Optimal Vitamin D Levels
Much research has been done on vitamin D levels and their impact on health; optimal levels have been correlated with a reduced risk of developing numerous conditions.
Lime Jello on Morphine
Taste is in the eyes... actually the mouth... of the beholder. My food preferences have changed, lightening from the food of my youth. My parents loved heavy eastern European cuisine and I loved it as a child. Now I enjoy leaner, healthier whole foods.
Saying No to Medicine
An interesting article recently appeared in Men's Journal titled "When to Say No to Your Doctor." The article begins with the summary statement above and effectively arms readers with information that will help them "take more responsibility for your own health care, because you can't be sure anyone else is.
Managing Patient Expectations About Acupuncture
Last year, I attended the Pacific Symposium in San Diego for the first time in six or seven years. It was the 25th anniversary of this event, and on one evening there was a panel discussion with the title; "What is Qi?."
The Heart Protector
On the physical level, the Pericardium is a double-layered sac of fibrous tissue that envelops the Heart. The space between the layers is filled with serous fluid that protects the Heart from external shock or trauma and lubricates to allow for normal Heart movement.
Pulse Diagnosis: What We Know
I am still finding pearls of wisdom from the books and papers that I inherited from my pulse diagnosis mentor Jim Ramholz.
Web Marketing: Content Is King
Google's sweeping updates to its search algorithms over the past few years have brought a paradigm shift in how you can optimize your chiropractic website to gain maximum marketing leverage.
Healing With TCM at San Quentin State Prison
For the prisoners at San Quentin State Prison, life-sentences are the reality of every day life. It is not often that prisoners get the opportunity to use alternative medicine to deal with common ailments they encounter behind bars such as, depression, anxiety and pain.
Managing Today's Fertility Patient
I recently received an email from one of my fertility patients: "Got my lab results back. FSH is 11, AMH is 0.7. My doctor said these numbers aren't good. I guess I'm infertile. Just as a thought. Just set up an appointment to speak with an adoption agency."
Jingei Diagnosis: An Effective and Powerful Diagnostic
I graduated from the Kotatama Institute under the direction of Drs. Masahilo and Katsuharu Nakazono in 1984. As a student, I was exposed to the practice of most of the various theories and modalites of Oriental Medicine.
Transparency and Accountability: Q&A With the CCE
Every profession needs an organization dedicated to upholding the quality and integrity of its degree programs and educational institutions.
The Wonders of Light Therapy: An Interview with Wes Burwell
I first met Wes Burwell in 2011 when he was teaching a class on light. Since then, every time I hear him speak, his understanding of the benefits, function and capacity of light has evolved.
Understanding and Identifying Pediatric Growth-Plate Fractures
In general, fractures in children heal well with little intervention as long as the alignment is good. Fractures involving the growth plate, however, are a different issue. In fact, growth-plate injuries are the primary reason for the subspecialty of pediatric orthopedics.
September, 2012, Vol. 12, Issue 09
Research Shows Acupressure Reduces Chronic Neck Pain
By Massage Therapy Foundation Contributor
Contributed By Derek R. Austin, MS, CMT, April Neufeld, BS, LMT, NCTMB, Sandra K. Anderson, BA, LMT, ABT
In this month's Massage Therapy Foundation Research Column, we are taking a critical look at the effects of acupressure.Widely accepted in Japan, many Americans are unaware of the many benefits of manual acupressure. It is a noninvasive technique in which, instead of needles, the practitioner's fingers press on traditional acupuncture points. Acupressure has been shown to be calming, relieve pain and induce relaxation.
Lead author Dr. Takako Matsubara, PT, an Associate Professor in the Department of Rehabilitation at Nihon Fukushi University, Japan, and his colleagues studied an area of interest to most massage therapists - chronic neck pain. Their research article, "Comparative Effects of Acupressure at Local and Distal Acupuncture Points on Pain Conditions and Autonomic Function in Females with Chronic Neck Pain" was published in the journal Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine.
Matsubara and colleagues randomly allocated 33 female subjects (n=33) to three groups. Group one subjects received acupressure at three tender points consistent with local acupuncture points (LP) "Jianjing" (GB 21), "Jianwaishu" (SI 14), and "Jianzhongshu" (SI 15). These local acupuncture points align with tender points in the trapezius muscle with acupressure (see Figure 1). Group two subjects received acupressure at three distal acupuncture points (DP); in this study, distal meant points distal to the location of the neck pain. These points were "Hegu" (LI 4), "Shousanli" (LI 10), and "Quchi" (LI 11). These distal acupuncture points are traditionally associated with neck-shoulder-arm disorders in Chinese/Japanese traditional medicine (see Figure 2). A third group, termed the control, received no acupressure at all.
Subjects were assessed about pain intensity using a verbal rating scale (VRS); the intensity of neck pain or stiffness was evaluated on a numerical scale from 0 to 3 (0: no pain, 1: mild pain, 2: moderate pain, and 3: severe pain). Subjects were also assessed about pain-related disability using the Neck Disability Index (NDI), pain-related anxiety using State-Trait Anxiety Inventory-I (STAI-I), and about muscle hardness (MH) on bilateral trapezius muscles. Pain-associated stress was assessed using salivary alpha-amylase (sAA) activity and heart rate variability (HRV) to determine parasympathetic and sympathetic activity. Low electrical frequency fluctuations in heart are indicators of sympathetic and parasympathetic activity, and high electrical frequency fluctuations are indicators of parasympathetic activity.
Parasympathetic and sympathetic activity in the test subjects was measured because several previous reports showed that the effects of acupuncture and acupressure are due to influencing the autonomic nervous system. The acupressure treatment lasted about ten minutes per session. Three sets of acupressure were applied with thumb pressure in a rotary fashion at 20-25 cycles per minutes for 30 seconds on each of the three assigned local or distal points on the right side of the subject's body; the same procedure was followed on the left side. The same investigator applied acupressure in all cases.
There were no significant differences among the three groups pre-treatment. There were no measured changes in pain, stiffness or autonomic activity in the control group throughout the study. However, in the LP and DP groups, the VRS, STAI-I, and MH significantly decreased immediately following treatment, indicating a decrease in pain and stiffness. The next day, the NDI was significantly lower compared with pre-treatment in the LP and DP groups. The subjects' heart rates significantly decreased and high frequency component of HRV significantly increased, indicating a parasympathetic autonomic response, only in the LP group.
This study is notable for its use of both local and distal acupressure therapy. Both appear to be effective in relieving chronic neck pain in only a single ten minute session, with significant next-day effects on the NDI, a validated measure of pain-related disability. Interestingly, reduction in pain in the LP and DP groups as assessed by the VRS were not significantly different from the control group at the one day follow-up.
This study by Matsubara et al., is limited by the lack of longer term follow-up beyond one day, the small sample size of 11 participants per group, and the inherent inability to blind the practitioner and participants from knowing which treatment was administered or received. As a primary measurement of pain intensity, the authors could have used a 10-cm visual analog scale (VAS), which may have been more sensitive to differences between groups at the one-day follow-up. Also, the addition of a "sham acupressure" group would have helped rule out the possibility of placebo effects or effects stemming from touch, not acupressure per se. Finally, the sample used in this study only included women; men might respond differently to acupressure applied to the points used in this study.
In conclusion, acupressure to both local and distal acupuncture points significantly reduces chronic neck pain in this randomized, controlled trial. The researchers point out that most clinicians combine local and distal acupuncture points in clinical practice, and they suggest that further research should assess combinatorial effects. This Open Access journal article is freely available in PubMedCentral at www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2952311/.
Author's Note: For additional research about accupressure, please see Robinson et al.'s 2011 Open Access review entitled, "The Evidence for Shiatsu: a systematic review of Shiatsu and acupressure" published in BMC Complementary & Alternative Medicine and available at www.biomedcentral.com.proxy.library.vcu.edu/1472-6882/11/88.
Editor's note: For more information about massage therapy research, visit the Massage Therapy Foundation at www.massagetherapyfoundation.org.
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