Exploring Massage Therapy: Acupressure (Part II)

Last week I wrote about acupressure, defining the modality and describing its benefits generally. This week I want to examine the specific benefits acupressure provides, as detailed in recent scientific research.

The first study comes from a 2010 issue of the journal Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, which demonstrated acupressure’s ability to decrease pain levels in patients suffering from chronic neck pain. In that study acupressure was also demonstrated to lower levels of anxiety and muscle hardness among participants, leading to higher levels of relaxation.

A similar study, performed on patients with chronic lower back pain, was published in a 2006 issue of the British Medical Journal and showed that patients who received only acupressure saw an 89 percent higher rate of pain reduction than other patients with chronic back pain who received physical therapy only. This led the authors of the study to conclude, “that acupressure is more efficacious in alleviating low-back pain than is physical therapy”

A third study, this one from a 2010 issue of the journal Sleep Medicine Reviews, reviewed previously published research and concluded that there is substantial scientific evidence demonstrating acupressure’s ability to help treat chronic insomnia. A fourth study meanwhile, published in a 2008 issue of the journal Anesthesia & Analgesia, showed acupressure’s ability to reduce anxiety among children who were about to undergo medical operations.

So from improving insomnia and pre-operative anxiety, to decreasing pain levels among chronic neck and back pain sufferers, acupressure has demonstrated itself to be a highly effective Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) therapy. Much like with massage therapy, I would expect (and hope) that acupressure will be found to help with other health conditions as well, and be prescribed more frequently as an effective CAM therapy.

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