Acupressure as a Tool in a Virtual Treatment Room

Claire Goldie December 16, 2020
Outstretched hand

What a year 2020 has been! As the saying goes ‘every cloud has a silver lining’ and that’s what Carl and the Breeze Academy became. An opportunity to learn from the comfort ( all be it messy) of my own home.

Whilst participating in the online module on Women's Health, it was Carl’s reference to acupressure in particular that caught my interest. As a private community physiotherapist working in a virtual treatment room acupuncture got “put away” until I could get back out there! One of my work remits was to deliver a talk about the benefits of acupuncture to a local Chronic Pain Group based at Dumfries House funded by the Princes Trust, going on to administer acupuncture to those who opted in. With the arrival of COVID came the closure of clinics and the birth of zoom. Virtual sessions that offered support and advice. Sessions where I could spend lots of time discussing the benefits of TENS and exercise with the same said group of individuals. Acupuncture sadly got sidelined as I saw little point in discussing its uses and benefits when I couldn’t deliver on the practical side.

Hello acupressure! I have been aware of the use of acupressure, namely PC6, for sometime - living in Scotland but hailing from Ireland, throw in a child with travel sickness and a rough Irish Sea and you soon familiarise yourself with the survival guide!

Acupressure as a tool which patients can self administer (with the correct training) is invaluable in this virtual world we find ourselves in. Self management, especially for long term conditions such as chronic pain, is key. The RCT by Murphy, Harris, Keshavarzi, Zick 2019 ‘ Self Administered Acupressure for Chronic Low Back Pain: A Randomised Control Pilot Trial, is the first study to investigate self administered acupressure applied on the body for people with CLBP to reduce fatigue and pain. The study demonstrated positive results in the reduction of both pain and fatigue and as with most studies calls for further research in this field.

The study also refers to previous studies on self-administered auricular acupuncture. A portion of this Women’s Health course discusses the benefits of ear acupuncture in the treatment of an array of conditions associated with the autonomic nervous system. Often the first choice for treating hot flushes. As Carl highlighted, these can strike anytime or anywhere .... the most frightening thought is that Costa may never be the same again with my ever-narrowing thermoneutral zone! Having the treatment tools literally at your fingers tips is invaluable when dealing with this unpredictable symptom.

In summary, with this year being one where the words “zoom, virtual, remote lockdown and isolation” have featured heavily in our conversations and where the hope for a new year of going back to ‘normal’ is yearned for ... what if this is our new normal? ..whilst for me it has been a large learning curve, the online world has brought benefits of reaching those corners of the globe and its inhabitants that wouldn’t normally access our services, it has enabled us to remain in contact and has had the added benefit of keeping up to date with CPD, thinking out-with the box as well as keeping me up to speed with the technological world my children live in.

We need to arm ourselves and our clients with the tools to deliver treatment anytime and anywhere in both our real and virtual worlds. Despite knowing about acupressure, I had never considered it a ‘real’ option before now ... I will definitely be looking into this in 2021!

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