Self-administered acupressure can effectively help offer relief from chronic back pain, according to a new study from the University of Michigan.
“Acupressure is similar to acupuncture, but instead of needles, pressure is applied with a finger, thumb, or device to specific points on the body,” lead author of the study Susan Murphy, an associate professor of physical medicine and rehabilitation at the University of Michigan, told a news portal.
For the study, the team examined 67 people with chronic lower back pain. They divided the participants into three groups:
* One group used relaxing acupressure
* The second group used stimulating acupressure
* The third group stuck to the prescribed treatment method recommended by their doctor
The first two groups had to apply a technique recommended for 30 minutes daily for about six weeks. “Compared to the usual care group, we found that people who performed stimulating acupressure experienced pain and fatigue improvement and those that performed relaxing acupressure felt their pain had improved after 6 weeks,” Murphy told a news portal.
There hasn't been a lot of research around acupressure. However,Mark Frost, a licensed acupuncturist and the chairman of the herbal medicine department of the American College of Traditional Chinese Medicine in San Francisco, believes the timing is right as the benefits of acupressure are becoming more recognised.
“Western medicine is waking up to the validity of Chinese medicine,” Frost told a news portal. Adding, “Certainly, as generation after generation of younger doctors come into their practice, they’re more open-minded. We’re at an interesting period of medicine. In 10 years, we’re just going to have ‘medicine’ instead of ‘Chinese medicine.’”
So how does it work? Apply pressure only with your fingers instead of using needles. “Acupressure is a subset of acupuncture. Acupressure can be really powerful.”Eric Karchmer, a practitioner of Chinese medicine in North Carolina, told a news portal. Karchmer explained, " actually massaging and stretching out the muscles and increasing blood flow and healing oxygen to the problem area."
Due to the findings, future studies will likely focus on understanding the best way to use acupressure for its various benefits. “Although larger studies are needed, acupressure may be a useful pain management strategy, given that it’s low risk, low cost and easy to administer,” Murphy told a news portal. Adding, “We also recommend additional studies into the different types of acupressure and how they could more specifically be targeted to patients based on their symptoms.”
The study's findings were originally published in the journal Pain Medicine.
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