Acupressure and Fatigue

Could acupressure really be a treatment for MS fatigue? #MSResearch #MSBlog

“The study below suggests acupressure is a treatment for MS-related fatigue. Is the data acceptable? Although this is a controlled randomised trial it is not well blinded. It compares simply touching specific acupressure sites compared to actually delivering acupressure at these sites. I am sure MSers can tell the difference between touch and acupressure. The latter may result in MSers receiving actual acupressure reporting a reduction in their fatigue. What this study highlights is the difficulty of doing controlled trials of acupressure. May be we need to do functional MRI to see how the brain responds to this treatment and if it differs to the touch control. It is a pity we can’t quantify the percept of fatigue on MRI; if we could we may be able to test anti-fatigue treatments using functional MRI. Functional MRI is a tool that tells us how the brain responds to certain situations. Interestingly, functional MRI is beginning to enter the pain field for proof of concept studies looking at anti-pain interventions. If only.”

“Do any of you have any experience with acupressure as a treatment for fatigue?”

Bastani et al. Effect of acupressure on fatigue in women with multiple sclerosis. Glob J Health Sci. 2015 Jan 26;7(4):42021. doi: 10.5539/gjhs.v7n4p375.

INTRODUCTION: Multiple sclerosis (MS) is the most common cause of progressive neurological disability. The prevalence of MS is much more common in women than men. The women are exposed to a variety of symptoms including fatigue. Acupressure is a noninvasive procedure that can be used to control symptoms including fatigue. 

AIM: The aim of the study was to evaluate the effect of acupressure on fatigue in women with multiple sclerosis.

METHODS: A randomized clinical trial was conducted on 100 women with MS at Tehran MS Association. The subjects were equally allocated to experimental group and a placebo group (50 women per group) by blocking randomization method. The experimental group were received acupressure, at the true points (ST36, SP6, LI4) and the placebo group, were received touching at the same points. Fatigue was measured by a Fatigue Severity Scale (FSS) in the groups at immediately prior to, two and four weeks after the beginning of the intervention. The data was analyzed using descriptive and inferential statistics by SPSS version 17.

RESULTS: The findings indicated no differences in demographic characteristics and the severity of fatigue at the baseline in two groups (p=0.54). But there were significant reductions of the mean score of fatigue in the experimental group compared to the placebo group immediately, two and four weeks after the intervention respectively (p=0.03, p=0.04).

CONCLUSION: According to the findings, the study provided an alternative method for health care providers including nurses to train acupressure to the clients with MS to managing their fatigue.

5 thoughts on “Acupressure and Fatigue”

  1. I have had accupuncture for circa six months and can't say that it made a big difference – it was at the start of my MS so fatigue was not a big issue either but still would be sceptical and personally wouldn't do & pay for it a second time.

  2. I notice that this study is from Tehran. Is Iran another one of those geographic anomalies, a place where you wouldn't expect there to be a lot of MS but there is? I know that Palestine is another. Just curious.

  3. I use the services of both acupuncture and massage to keep me going. The massage therapist almost exclusively uses acupressure, and they are both conscious of not over-stimulating my nervous system with the needles or touch. I always feel so much better for a week or so after massage, but that day I am so relaxed, I often fall asleep on the massage table. I hadn’t thought of the fatigue improvement – I’ll pay closer attention when I see her next week.

  4. Yes, regularly – both acupressure and acupuncture – mainly for pain management. In my experience, acupressure (done in Tui an massage) is quite subtle in comparison to acupuncture, but I do feel an improvement in energy. Possibly placebo but who cares, it helps me feel better in terms of energy and overall well-being.

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