The Whitworths of Arizona, bringing science to you in everyday language.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Acupuncture, Accupressure and Massage Therapy

Several small studies have found that all of these more Eastern treatment methods work to decrease anxiety, agitation, and stress. The evidence from dementia caregivers is also positive. On the down side, results occur only with regular, sometimes daily, use and end soon after the treatments do.

Acupuncture: Treatment consists of needles inserted in strategic points on the body. Placement and number of the needles depends the conditions being treated. For dementia, the needles will often be in the head. Although the needles don’t hurt, a person must lie still for a period of time, usually 20 to 30 minutes, once the needles are inserted.

I convinced Carlton to try acupuncture to strengthen his voice. He started out going every Wednesday and right away, I could hear him better. But it didn’t last; by Sunday, his voice was weaker. We increased visits to twice a week and that carried him over. He’d been going for six months when our daughter had a baby. By then, he could miss occasional sessions and his voice stayed strong. We went to stay with her for a month so I could help out. By the time we returned home, his voice was so weak I could hardly hear him.   –Clara

Similar stories from caregivers abound, with reports that acupuncture:
  • Relieves anxiety, agitation, tension and stress
  • Improves sleep and speech
  • Decreases anger, combativeness and acting-out
On the negative side:
  • Treatment requires a trained and certified professional.
  • Results are temporary. Treatment must to be administered at least weekly and the results disappear if treatments stop.
  • Treatment can be expensive and is not always covered by insurance.
  • The treatment’s intrusive nature might be frightening to a person who is unable to understand the process.
  • Some people may not be able to lie still and leave the needles alone for the required amount of time.
Acupressure: This therapy is very similar to acupuncture except that hand pressure rather than needles stimulate the strategic points in the body. Used appropriately, acupressure appears to provide help similar to that of acupuncture:
  • Relieves anxiety, agitation, tension and stress
  • Improves sleep
  • Decreases anger, combativeness and acting-out
Acupressure is mild and non-intrusive, which gives it some advantage over acupuncture for the average LBD family. It is:
  • Easier to use and less frightening.
  • Safe for non-professionals to use. Care partners can learn to do it at home and care staff can learn to provide it in residential facilities.
  • Less expensive.
  • The milder treatments wear off sooner. Maintaining results may require several sessions per week, often daily.
  • Professionals do have more training and background knowledge and may be able to do a better job. However, acupressure is seldom covered by insurance.
Massage and touch therapy. Massage therapy, the of manipulating muscles and limbs, can treat the whole body or just certain areas. Light touch can sometimes be more effective than words.  Care partners report that it works well for:
  • Relaxation and sleep improvement
  • Anxiety, agitation, tension and stress reduction
  • Pain reduction. Massage is especially helpful if the pain is from tense muscles.
  • Direction. A light touch can sometimes work better than words to provide direction. It gently pulls the attention back to the job at hand and adds a sense of caring at the same time.
  • Care partners can learn to do basic massage at home.
  • Gentle massaging can be a time of togetherness between care partner and loved one.
  • Results are temporary. They require ongoing, sometimes daily, use.
  • Deep muscle massage requires strength and stamina a care partner may not have.
  • A professional masseuse has more training and strength but may not be covered by insurance or may be covered only for a limited time.
Summary: Although acupuncture may work better for stress reduction and related issues, its disadvantages may make it less attractive to the home-based caregiver than acupressure or massage. With some basic training, either of these therapies may be useful for treating stress related issues that otherwise might require medication. If medication is still required, the dosage needed will likely be decreased.


  1. Thanks for sharing this information. In order to assist individuals in choosing the right one from the crowd of massage therapists, we are offering complete information about modern massage and massage treatment at our website so that individual can assistance in hiring the right professional.

  2. Massage feels relaxation it is good for body and health both. You are provide good information about massage.

  3. Awesome post I am a student of Arizona massage schools . Massage therapy provides unwind and relax from stress our teachers are Licensed Massage Therapists and I want to be also one of them.

  4. Nice post! Acupuncture is the procedure of inserting and manipulating needles into various points on the body to relieve pain or for therapeutic purposes. Thanks for giving us information..
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  6. During an acupressure session, you lie fully clothed on a soft massage table. The practitioner gently presses on acupressure points on your body. A session typically lasts about one hour. You may need several sessions for the best results.

  7. During an acupressure session, you lie fully clothed on a soft massage table. The practitioner gently presses on acupressure points on your body. A session typically lasts about one hour. You may need several sessions for the best results.
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  8. Thanks for sharing a beautiful post with North American nation your I actually have tried those kinds of massage that was mentioned here, and my favorite among those is that the deep tissue massage. I started obtaining deep tissue provincial capital Massage medical aid once I was sick from associate injury.

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  10. Acupuncture is able to work so well because it is able to penetrate back muscles that lie deep in the spine. Your acupuncturist can further warm the needles while inserted to allow further relaxation.Acupuncture in dallas Acupuncture Treatment in Manchester

  11. Really useful stuff all about Acupuncture, Accupressure and Massage Therapy .Never had an idea about this as How it can be so useful but your blog provide me the good information about this now I will look for more of such informative posts from your side.. Good job...Keep it up
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  12. Hey, this is such a wonderful post regarding acupuncture, acupressure and massage therapy. All these are very effective natural ways to treat health issues. I have never tried acupressure but I have got acupuncture for my knee pain at a professional acupuncture Mississauga clinic. Trust me guys it worked so quickly!!

  13. I am giving acupuncture treatments to an 89 y/o man diagnosed with LB. I have only started frequent treatments recently. What is interesting is that he now requests it and often wants me to leave the needles in. I am administering auricular (ear) acupuncture and body points addressing several issues. I wish I could offer daily treatments bit that is not logistically possible. Also critical to look at the diet and make adjustments. Unfortunately he is currently bed ridden because he did not get the proper care at a hospital and then a rehab ( he had most likely hospital contracted pneumonia) .

  14. Acupuncture seems to be greatly helping an 89 year old man diagnosed with LB and receiving treatments 2-3 times weekly. In addition he is on certain herbal supplements.