Acupressure calms children before surgery

October 2nd, 2008 - 4:06 pm ICT by IANS  

Washington, Oct 2 (IANS) Acupressure lowers anxiety levels among children undergoing anesthesia and also calms them before surgery, according to research.Zeev Kain, of the department of anesthesiology at California University, and his Yale University collaborator Shu-Ming Wang said this noninvasive, drug-free method is an effective, anxiety-relief therapy for children during surgical preparation.

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

In this study, Kain and his Yale colleagues applied adhesive acupressure beads to 52 children between the ages of eight and 17 who were to undergo endoscopic stomach surgery, said a release of California University.

In half the children, a bead was applied to the Extra-1 acupoint, which is located in the midpoint between the eyebrows. In the other half, the bead was applied to a spot above the left eyebrow that has no reported clinical effects.

Thirty minutes later, researchers noted decreased anxiety levels in children with Extra-1 acupoint beads. In turn, anxiety levels increased in the other group. Overall, they found the use of acupressure had no effect on the surgical procedure.

“As anesthesiologists, we need to look at all therapeutic opportunities to make the surgical process less stressful for all patients,” Kain said. “We can’t assume that western medical approaches are the only viable ones, and we have an obligation to look at integrative treatments like acupressure as a way to improve the surgery experience.”

Surgery is traumatic for most children, and Kain leads research to find integrative methods, such as soothing music, massage, and Chinese acupuncture and acupressure treatments, to make the surgical period more calming for patients and their families.

Sandra Escalera, Inna Maranets and Eric Lin of Yale also contributed to the study, which was supported by the National Institutes of Health.

These results appeared in the September issue of Anaesthesia and Analgesia.

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