—Alan Franciscus, Editor-in-Chief
(JAMA)released a study analyzing data from 29 trials that included
approximately 18,000 patients from the United States and Europe. The
age range was 39 – 63 yo and 68% of the patients were women. The
researchers defined a good response as equal to 50% or more in
reduction in pain. In the study, the patients suffered from chronic
pain categorized as chronic nonspecific musculoskeletal pain,
osteoarthritis, chronic headache, or shoulder pain. The groups were
compared to each other based on type of treatment, sham treatment or no
treatment. The three groups and the response rates are below.
People who received acupuncture – 50%
People who did not receive acupuncture – 30%
People who received sham or fake acupuncture – 42.5%
thousands of years. I know many people who have used it to treat pain
and I personally used it for side effect management when I was on
pegylated interferon plus ribavirin therapy. It worked for me!
that it will not treat every condition. Remember that every
profession has different levels of expertise so pick your acupuncturist
A couple of important notes about acupuncture:
The Accreditation Commission
for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (ACAOM) is accredited by the
U.S. Department of Education for acupuncture and herbal therapies. To
find an accredited acupuncture practitioner start at: http://www.nccaom.org/find-a-nccaom-certified-practitioner
All acupuncture practitioners should use disposable needles wrapped in plastic and these should be opened up in front of you.
Pain is a symptom of a
condition – make sure any pain is evaluated by your doctor or nurse
before consulting with an acupuncture practitioner.
Acupressure works by the
same principle as acupuncture, but instead of needles finger pressure
is used. There are many common pain relief methods that are based on
the principles of acupucture/acupressure. See the text from our Fact
Sheet Self-Help Acupressure for Hepatitis C below for more information about acupuncture.
About half of medical
insurance plans cover acupuncture – check to find out if your insurance
plan covers it and if there are co-pays.
Some acupuncture clinics
offer reduced prices for those who qualify – call around to find the
prices and find out if there are any low-cost or reduced payment plans.
Thomas L. Schwenk, MD reviewing Vickers AJ and Linde K. JAMA 2014 Mar 5.
JAMA. 2014;311(9):955-956. doi:10.1001/jama.2013.285478.
Acupressure, meaning “finger pressure,” uses the
human touch on special places, or points on the body. The advantages of
this type of Chinese Medicine is it is very relaxing and nourishes the
recipient, and can be done, with guidance, by individuals at home.
Acupressure began five thousand years ago. The
ancients of this culture paid great attention to the life flow in the
body which they called “qi,” which is pronounced “chee.” They compared
the qi circulating through the body to underground rivers. These rivers
are called meridians, and there are twelve meridians in the body. The
ancients noted areas where the energy in these rivers bubbled close to
the surface of the body, and saw that at these points it was easier to
contact the qi. They also saw that whenever there was a blockage in the
flow of the qi, it created an imbalance that could lead to illness.
regain and maintain health, it is crucial to keep the qi flowing
smoothly. Stimulating these special points improve the flow of qi.
lives, muscular tension increases and accumulates around the 360
acupressure points. By touching these points in a focused and nurturing
manner, acupressure improves the flow of blood and energy thus
allowing nutrients to feed our cells, and toxins to be removed. When
circulation is free-flowing, you feel a greater sense of ease, health
and well being. Studies show that stimulating different points
increases endorphins, a natural pain relieving substance, and reduces
stress hormones in the body.
A few pointers to help prepare before you give
yourself a session. Remember, this is a time for You, pamper yourself,
you deserve it! There are little rituals that I do that help to make it
Turn off the outside world,
i.e., your phone, and TV. Let your family or house-mates know that you
do not want to be disrupted for the next 30 – 60 minutes. This is your
time to replenish yourself.
Light some candles.
Put on some soft, calming music.
Often times I lay down and/or sit on my bed when I work on myself. Make yourself comfortable.
Have a glass of water nearby.
Have a blanket handy in case you get cold.
Before starting, do some
deep breathing and/or meditation. Letting go of your day and relaxing
is the best way to begin doing Acupressure.
Experiment with this. Some areas of the body like deeper pressure, some
areas only need very light pressure, and sometimes it might feel best
by not making physical contact with your body. More is not necessarily
better, use the amount of pressure which is most comfortable for you.
When working a few inches above the body you’re working within the
energy body, which holds the physical body.
location of the point.” Within Jin Shin Jyutsu, which is a style of
Japanese bodywork that has many similarities to Acupressure, the
philosophy is the point has a diameter of 3 inches. Touch within this 3
inch area. Wherever it is the tightest or most painful is where you
need to be for that moment. You may find if you hold a point for 5 or
10 minutes that you may be “called” to move several times within that 3
These Acupressure points help with fatigue, rebuild
the immune system, support the liver, relieve water retention, nausea,
indigestion, headaches, confusion, depression, and pain, and will
increase your energy.