Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Pain Relief –A Pressure Point in the hand

I ran across an article that talked about a simple way to relieve pain by applying pressure to your hand between the thumb and forefinger. I scoffed at it at first, but when I read on, it turned out that there are reasons to believe it may actually help a little. So, being the generous and kind-hearted soul that I am, I decided to pass along the tip to you.

The assertion: Applying pressure to a dime-sized spot located between the thumb and forefinger can calm anxiety and pain, particularly headaches and dental pain. The spot, called hegu (pronounced her-goo in Mandarin Chinese) can be treated with pressure or with acupuncture needles.

The conclusion: There are more than 300 Chinese acupuncture points. Of those, hegu in clinical practice seems to be one of the most useful—particularly for pain relief, doctors say. Hegu hasn't been sufficiently studied to prove conclusively it alleviates pain, but one well-designed study found it blunted the worst pain experienced during a medical procedure.

It isn't known exactly how hegu works according to John C. Reed, director of inpatient services at the Center for Integrative Medicine at the University of Maryland School of Medicine in Baltimore. A recent human study found treating it with acupuncture needles increases blood flow to the face, an area where acupuncturists say it is likely to relieve pain. Other research suggests hegu may work by stimulating endorphins, proteins that are natural pain relievers, he adds.

In 2011 a study by researchers at the University of Maryland and Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, examined the effect of pressing on the hegu point in cancer patients undergoing a procedure called bone-marrow aspiration, which can cause excruciating pain. The study found no difference in average pain levels in patients treated with pressure applied with a device on the hegu point to the same amount of pressure on a point a couple inches away on the top of the hand, which has no known benefit. But it did find that the proportion of patients with severe pain decreased in the hegu group. That suggests that hegu "takes the edge" off the worst pain.

Aculief Inc. of Carlsbad, Calif., sells a $30 clip that applies constant pressure to the spot. The company says it hasn't done any studies on the clip, but that its customers say it helps headaches and other pain.

To manipulate your own hegu point put a thumb on top of the fleshy part between the thumb and forefinger of the opposite hand. Place your forefinger on the other side of the hand and press hard. If you're doing it right, it will hurt a little.

A minute or two may be enough, or you may need to try for longer—but benefits will start to decrease after about 20 to 40 minutes of steady pressure. If you get no relief from pressing one hand, try the other one.

Pressing on hegu is generally safe, however, acupuncturists say pregnant women should avoid it. Traditional Chinese medicine texts say manipulating the point can induce labor.

There, now go treat that headache you got from reading all of this…..

Live Long and Prosper...

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