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    Acupressure Soothes Children Before Surgery

    By Jennifer Huddleston, staff writer    

    A recent study by U.S. researchers found that an acupressure treatment reduced anxiety in children undergoing anesthesia. [1]

    Unlike acupuncture, no needles are used in acupressure, but rather a bead or fingertip is pressed against a certain pressure point. Studies have found that both treatments may cause the release of stress-, nausea- and pain-relieving endorphins.
    [2]

    Zeev Kain, M.D., anesthesiology and perioperative care chair at the University of California, Irvine, along with Yale University School of Medicine colleagues Shu-Ming Wang, M.D., Sandra Escalera, M.D.,  Inna Maranets, M.D., and Eric Lin, B.S., studied 52 patients between the ages of 8 and 17 who were undergoing endoscopic stomach surgery.
    [3]

    “Anxiety in children before surgery is bad because of the emotional toll on the child and parents, and this anxiety can lead to prolonged recovery and the increased use of analgesics for post-operative pain,” said Kain.
    [4]

    Half of the children in the study had an adhesive bead applied to the Extra-1 pressure point between their eyebrows and the other half had a bead applied to a spot above the left eyebrow that has no reported clinical effects.
    [5]

    Thirty minutes later, the children who had a bead applied to the Extra-1 acupoint had decreased levels of anxiety, while the children in the other group had increased anxiety levels.
    [6] The study also found that the use of acupressure had no effect on the surgical procedure. [7]

    “What’s great about the use of acupressure,” Kain said, “is that it costs very little and has no side effects.”

    Kain researches methods such as massage, comforting music and acupuncture and acupressure treatments to calm patients and their families in surgical settings.
    [8]

    “As anesthesiologists, we need to look at all the therapeutic opportunities to make the surgical process less stressful for all patients,” said Kain. “We have an obligation to look at integrative treatments like acupressure as a way to improve the surgery experience.”
    [9]

    The findings of the study, which was supported by the National Institutes of Health, are published in the September 2008 issue of Anesthesia & Analgesia.
    [10]


    [1] Fox, Maggie. “Acupressure Seen to Calm Children Before Surgery.” Reuters. Sept. 30, 2008.
    [2]  Ibid.
    [3] University of California—Irvine. “Acupressure Calms Children Before Surgery.” ScienceDaily. Oct. 2, 2008.
    [4] “Acupressure Calms Children Pre-surgery.” United Press International. Oct. 3, 2008.
    [5]  Ibid.
    [6]  Ibid.
    [7] University of California—Irvine. “Acupressure Calms Children Before Surgery.” ScienceDaily. Oct. 2, 2008.
    [8]  Ibid.
    [9] Fox, Maggie. “Acupressure Seen to Calm Children Before Surgery.” Reuters. Sept. 30, 2008.
    [10] University of California—Irvine. “Acupressure Calms Children Before Surgery.” ScienceDaily. Oct. 2, 2008.



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