Acupuncture and Acupressure and Massage Health for Patients with Anorexia Nervosa

J Altern Complement Med. 2013 Oct 8.

Acupuncture and Acupressure and Massage Health Outcomes for Patients with Anorexia Nervosa: Findings from a Pilot Randomized Controlled Trial and Patient Interviews.

Smith C, Fogarty S, Touyz S, Madden S, Buckett G, Hay P.


Abstract Objectives: This study examined the feasibility of conducting a randomized controlled trial of acupuncture compared with an active control in an inpatient setting, to examine individuals’ experience of the interventions, clinical outcomes from the trial, and to integrate data to explain the trial findings. Design: This was a pilot randomized controlled trial with in-depth interviews with trial participants. Setting: The study was conducted at a private medical facility in Sydney, Australia. Subjects: Twenty-six (26) patients with anorexia nervosa who were medically stable were the subjects. Interventions: Treatment as usual was administered, and the intervention was delivered twice a week for the first 3 weeks, followed by weekly treatment for three weeks. The acupuncture group received acupuncture at the points Hegu (LI4), Zusanli (ST36), Neiguan (PC6), Taichong (LR3), Yanglingquan (GB34), and additional points based on the Traditional Chinese Medicine diagnosis. The control group received acupressure and massage. Acupressure involved consciously and gradually directing pressure to the center of the point being worked on. Outcome measures: Clinical outcomes were measured at baseline and at 6 weeks following completion of the intervention. The primary outcome measure was body-mass index (BMI), and secondary outcomes included eating disorder psychopathology, anxiety, and depression. A semistructured interview was conducted asking questions about their interaction with the practitioner, what happened, how they felt, whether it made them feel differently, and what they attributed any change to. Results: We found timely recruitment with the population recruited within a 5-month period. Study dropouts were 23% and treatment compliance was moderate, but acceptable for this challenging population. Participants in the control group demonstrated reduced eating concerns. Participants described both interventions positively, and experienced a sense of calmness and relaxation. Conclusions: Acupuncture and acupressure and massage may improve the patient’s subjective sense of wellbeing, and further research is needed.

Source: Centre for Complementary Medicine Research, University of Western Sydney , Penrich, New South Wales, Australia .


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