TAIPEI, TAIWAN. Acupressure is an ancient technique used in Chinese medicine. It is very similar to acupuncture except that it employs finger pressure rather than thin needles to stimulate acu-points. Acu- points have aptly been described as external doors to the meridians that access the internal tissues and organs of the body. Both acupuncture and acupressure have been found useful in the control or elimination of pain. Researchers at the National Taiwan University now report that acupressure is highly effective in the treatment of chronic low back pain.
Their randomized, controlled clinical trial involved 146 patients, the majority of whom experienced back pain
episodes lasting 6 months or longer. The patients were randomized to receive either standard physical
therapy (thermotherapy, infrared light therapy, electrical stimulation, exercise therapy, or pelvic manual
traction) or 15-minute acupressure treatments. Both groups received 6 treatments over a 4-week period. At
the end of the 4 weeks, the average pain score had decreased from 9.29 (at baseline) to 2.28 in the
acupressure group and from 7.68 to 5.13 in the physical therapy group. At the end of the total 6-month
observation period, the pain score in the acupressure group had decreased further to 1.08 as compared to a
decrease to 3.15 in the physical therapy group. The researchers conclude that the relative treatment
efficacy in regard to pain relief from acupressure as compared to physical therapy was about 82% after the
4-week treatment period and 93% at the 6-month follow-up assessment.