Author(s): McFadden KL, Hernndez TD
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Abstract OBJECTIVES: Acupressure, a complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) treatment, uses fingertips, rather than needles, to stimulate acupoints on the skin and has been implicated as a successful treatment for a variety of medical disorders. However, acupressure's underlying mechanisms remain unclear. One theory is that acupoint stimulation modulates autonomic nervous system activity. Previous studies have suggested that acupressure may positively affect heart rate and blood pressure. The current study investigated the effects of a type of acupressure, Jin Shin, on cardiovascular function in stroke survivors, a population that could especially benefit from a treatment promoting cardiovascular health. The study tested the hypothesis that active acupressure treatments would reduce heart rate and blood pressure (i.e., induce a greater relaxation response) above and beyond that seen during placebo acupressure treatments. METHODS: A randomised, placebo-controlled, single-blind crossover design was utilised, in which 16 participants received 8 weeks of either active or placebo acupressure followed by washout and crossover into the opposite treatment condition. Heart rate and blood pressure measurements were taken throughout treatments. RESULTS: Active acupressure treatments were associated with a significantly greater (p=.043, eta(2)=.30) and faster (p=.002, eta(2)=.76) reduction in heart rate compared to that seen during placebo treatments. No treatment effect on blood pressure was found. CONCLUSIONS: Active acupressure reduced heart rate significantly more than did placebo acupressure during treatments. Although no treatment effect on blood pressure was found, this could be due to 67\% of participants taking antihypertensive medications during the study. Copyright 2010 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
This article was published in Complement Ther Med
and referenced in International Journal of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation