Acupressure helpful in backpain

Taipei: Acupressure, an ancient Chinese massage has been found more helpful in relieving lower back pain than most other treatments, a new study has discovered.

Researchers at the Ntional Taiwan University found that nearly 90 per cent of patients felt reduced discomfort after acupressure treatment. Backpain a common problem worldwide

The Taiwan study, published in the British Medical Journal, used 129 patients with chronic lower back pain who were already attending a specialist orthopaedic clinic. They were split into two groups with half receiving acupressure and the rest conventional physical therapy. The researchers assessed the patients immediately after their course of treatment had finished and again after six months.The patients in the acupressure group were found to have less disability due to back pain than the other group.

The researchers found that acupressure resulted in an 89 per cent reduction in disability – and the benefits were still evident at six months. They also saw improvementsin leg pain and ‘pain interfering-with normal work’, with a reduction in time taken off work as a result.

Professor Tony Hsui-Hsi Chen, University’s Institute of Preventive Medicine which led the research said: ‘This study shows that acupressure is more effective in alleviating low back pain than physical therapy.

‘The effect was not only seen in the short term, but lasted for six months. We hope that this technique-can be imparted to other therapists now that its efficacy has been shown in our study, so that acupressure can be used in other populations.’


Stressful situations release the hormone dehydroepiandrosterone-S (DHEA-S) in the body which helps us look and feel younger, as well as boosting sex drive and improving memory. Those who produce more of the hormone are better able to deal with stress.

DHEA-S is produced by the adrenal glands in response to stressful situations. It assists brain and body function, boosts memory and mood and keeps skin supple, weight down as well as boosting libido. Like other hormones production decreases as we age.

Ultimately it is the way that we deal with stress that has the potential to allows stress to become a negative or positive force in our lives.

For example, when we find ourselves in a threatening situation, our heart beats faster and our muscles tense. This is known as the fight or flight response and our ancestors depended on this reaction for their survival – to escape enemies and predators. We still use it today but in lesser situations and the body returns to normal.

It is constant stress when the body does not return to normal that can result exhaustion and illness. In life crises such as bereavement, marriage breakdown or depression, doctors have found that the immune system becomes impaired and the
body manufactures large quantities of stress chemicals particularly corisol. At the same the activity of “natural killer” (NK) cells, which circulate in the blood ready to attack foreign bodies and mutant cells are supressed.

These are some of the symptoms of long-term stress:

* Fast and shallow breathing
* A racing heart which can led to chest pains, tingling, palpitations and asthma
* A dry mouth
* Muscle tension and pain.
* High blood pressure
* Nausea, indigestion, heartburn and ulcers.
* Sweating
* Sudden feelings of fear and panic
* Feelingtense, nervous or wound-up
* Difficulty getting to sleep, staying asleep, or waking
* Constant feelings tha something awful might happen
* Feeling irritable, edgy and bad-tempered
* Irregular eating patterns and often eat too much or too little
* Smoking or drinking too much, or take tranquillisers or other drugs
* Suffering from upset stomachs, diarrhoea or constipation
* Difficulty with concentration, memory or making decisions
* Constantly feeling exhausted
* Worrying that you will lose control, crack up or become ill
* Feeling apathetic – like nothing matters
* Feeling short of breath even when resting
* A feeling of tightness in the neck, chest or head
* Avoiding worrying situations
* Unable to turn off certain worrying thoughts
* A loss of interest in sex
* A sensation of palpitations or butterflies in the stomach or chest
* A lack of self-confidence
* Constant worrying that you will not be able to cope
* Frequent headaches
* Feeling thatlife is not worth living
* Feeling pessimistic about the future
* Feelingunder strain.
* Feeling obsessive about certain issues
* Constant aches and pains that worry you
* Feeling very emotional and crying easily
* Feeling physically run down
* Feeling dizzy, remote, unreal or faint.
* Can’t be bothered to see friends or take up interests

What can you do about stress?

Although there is no magic cure or pill to cure stress, there are certain lifestyle changesthat will help you better cope with it and diminish its impact on your health and life.

Look after your health by eating foods that help you to be fitter and strengthen your immune system. There are also mood-enhancing foods that trigger the release of the serotonin which has a soothing effect – these include vegetables and
wholegrains. Vegetables contain high levels of the amino-scid L-Tryptophan which is also a serotonin trigger.

Take more exercise. Go for a 15-minute run before work. Don’t eat lunch at your office desk – go and sit in the park and take a walk. Take the dog for a walk before dinner.

Do something to make you laugh.

Develop a positive attitude.

Express your feelings

Learn to delegate

Relax and take time out for yourself

If you do feel stressed breath deeply and slowly, close your eyes and go to a place where you feel good – like a palm-fringed beach, where you can listen to gentle waves lapping back and forth. Practice this several times a day and it will help you relax and refocus.

There are a number of alternative therapies that can help with stress such as massage, acupuncture, aromatherapy, flotation and Bach Flower Remedies. Read about these in more detail in Alternative Therapies



Acupressure is an ancient healing art eveloped in Asia over 5,000 years ago. It is a similar technique to acupuncture and uses pressure applied using the fingers (instead of needles) on 12 energy meridians, with the aim of stimulating the body’s natural self-curative abilities.

The pressure is said to release any muscular tension promoting the circulation of blood and assisting the body to self-heal. The benefits of acupressure include pain relief, balancing the body and maintaining good health. It also helps reduce tension, increases circulation, and enables deep relaxation of the body. By relieving stress, acupressure strengthens resistance to disease and promotes wellness. Varying rhythms,pressures, and techniques create different styles of acupressure. Shiatsu, for instance, tbe most well-known style of acupressure, can be quite vigorous, with firm pressure applied to each point for only three to five seconds, while the Jin Shin style of acupressure gently holds each point for a minute or more. A variety of bodywork styles is taught along with massage on tables and floor mats.

Further information can be obtained from the Acupuncture Council – see next entry.