Acupressure Relieves Preoperative Stress in Children
Preoperative anxiety in children may be reduced by as much as nine percent, using a simple acupressure technique. Taping an acupressure bead between the eyebrows is easy, effective and inexpensive, according to research published in the September issue of Anesthesia & Analgesia.
Any invasive surgical procedure is stressful enough without the added burden of preoperative anxiety. Dr. Zeer Kain, co-author of the study and chair of anesthiology and preoperative care says, "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 preoperative pain."
Dr. Shu-ming Wang from Yale and Dr.Kain, from UC Irvine, undertook a randomized trial of 52 children aged eight to 17. Children in the study were all scheduled to undergo gastrointestinal endoscopies.
For the clinical trial, children were randomly assigned to one of two groups. One group of children had the tiny acupressure bead taped to a point between the eyebrows known in traditional Chinese medicine as the Yan-Teng point. The other group of children had the bead secured to a point just above the eyebrow for which there is no known clinical or therapeutic effect.
The group of children with the Yan-Teng acupressure showed an overall reduction in treatment anxiety of nine percent, as measured by the State Trait Anxiety Inventory for Children.
This small trial showed some interesting effects in terms of treatment anxiety, although the use of sedatives remained similar for both groups. An added appeal is the cost. Bead application costs just $0.20 to $0.40 per patient. It is also very easy to apply, meaning that once shown, pretty well anyone can secure the bead to the forehead with a strip of adhesive tape.
The authors of the study noted that their methodology accounted for gender, age and procedure, but not the disease process itself which, they claim, may have made children more or less susceptible to acupressure.
Wang, S-M, et al (2008) Extra-1 Acupressure for Children Undergoing Anesthesia. Anesthesia and Analgesia. 107: 811-6.