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resourcesABOUT MT AUTHOR GUIDELINES CLASSIFIEDS EDITORIAL CALENDAR MEDIA GUIDE MASSAGE MART SCHOOLS & EDUCATION FEEDBACK
Exploring and Learning from the Gift of Life
I'm grateful to have had the opportunity to teach cadaver dissection classes and workshops with Stephen Cina at the New England School of Acupuncture over the past seven years, first through the Sports Medicine Acupuncture Program and later as a NESA elective course.
Abdominal Acupuncture for Eye Healing: The Sacred Turtle and Ba Gua Map
Our ideas about western medicine have shifted in recent decades, while the public is asking more from health care providers.
Are You Making the Wrong Impression?
Taking a page from Stacy and Clinton of The Learning Channel's hit television program, "What Not to Wear," we recently published an article in the summer issue of Chiropractic History: The Archives and Journal of the Association for the History of Chiropractic, that explores the evolution of physician attire from prehistoric times to the present.
Colon Health and TCM
I still remember many years ago, the loud "Yuck" from my wife at the time when we were together watching the Chinese movie "Last Emperor."
Research: Know What You're Talking About
Have you ever seen a patient in your office with multiple serious health problems you weren't sure exactly how to address?
Melatonin: A Promising Natural Agent in the Prevention of ALS
A number of years ago, experimental studies suggested melatonin could block key steps in the development of Alzheimer's disease, primarily by acting as a brain antioxidant and inhibiting the build-up of beta-amyloid plaque in the brain.
The Art of Creating a Healing Space
I always advise my graduates to examine their group practice or treatment rooms with fresh eyes after they leave my CE workshops. I tell them, "Ask yourselves - is your space qi filled, welcoming and healing? Or is it cold and clinical?"
An Unexpected Superfood: All About Eggs
About 40 years ago, excessive dietary cholesterol was labeled a public health concern. Specifically, it was thought that there was a causal link between consumption of cholesterol-laden foods and increased risk of heart disease.
Looking Back: Abstracts From Chiropractic History (Summer 2015 Issue)
The following abstracts are reprinted with permission from Chiropractic History, the official journal of the Association for the History of Chiropractic. Chiropractic History is the leading scholarly journal of the chiropractic profession dedicated to the preservation and dissemination of the profession's credible history.
Reverse Digit Span: A Useful Assessment Tool for Patients With and Without Concussion
Reverse digit span is an easily administered test of attention span. It is a component of the SCAT3 test, which is frequently used to assess concussion. It has been part of the armamentarium of cognitive assessment for many years.
Can Acupuncture Treat Knee Pain?
Recently, an article in the Journal of the American Medical Association concluded that, "neither laser nor needle acupuncture conferred benefit over sham for pain or function" among older chronic knee pain patients.
Online Marketing Basics: Google Ranking, Part 1
We all know there is so much opportunity with online marketing. And, let's face it, if you don't have a presence online with a website and social media, you are probably not where you want to be.
Medicine as Metaphor
The practice of medicine is both an art and a science. We study and learn the system so that when the time comes to apply it, there is a greater possibility of successfully helping others.
The Roots of TCM in Depression Treatment
In traditional Chinese medicine, there is historical precedent for the treatment of so-called "Shen" (Heart-Mind) disorder, or disorder/dysregulation of the spirit, which is also considered as distinct but not separate from the cognitive function of the brain.
Merger Creates New Model of Care
Two San Francisco powerhouses of holistic healing, the American College of Traditional Chinese Medicine (ACTCM) and California Institute of Integral Studies (CIIS), are merging. Together they are building a visionary approach to applied integral health.
The Winter of Life: A Personal and Chiropractic Practice Perspective
Last November, my wife and I invited an elderly relative, Uncle Josh, to spend the winter with us. He was 82 years old at the time and turned 83 during his stay. As soon as he accepted our invitation, we began preparing.
Adding Microneedling to Your Clinic for Results and Profit
Microneedling has taken the beauty world by storm over the last 10 years. Under the names dermaroller, microneedling or skin needling you will see these treatments listed in the services of nearly every fashionable beauty salon and day spa in the country.
The Integrative Medicine Puzzle: Putting the Pieces Together
The conversation is changing in the broader healthcare community with patients actually moving the discussion toward more integrative topics. Patients today want to know their options.
Exercise Recommendations for Healthy Aging
Aging is inevitable, but how you age is not. Common physical signs of aging include decreased muscle mass, decreased muscular power, increased body fat, and decreased aerobic (lung) capacity.
The Source-Luo Point Combination, Part 3
Dr. Nguyen Nghi (NVN) was born in Vietnam and is one of the most important scholars, writers, teachers and practitioners of modern time. Many of his theories and applications are the source of modern teachers from Europe and the United States.
Chiropractic Care and Risk of Stroke: The Shoe Moves to the Other Foot
For decades, numerous papers have linked upper cervical chiropractic care to the incidence of vertebral artery dissections and stroke.
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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