Acupressure massage therapy can effectively treat depression and agitation among dementia patients, according to a recent study conducted by researchers at the National Yang-Ming University in Taiwan.
Twenty patients were studied over six weeks, including one week before the treatment started and one week after it finished. All lived in dementia units at a long-term care facility.
Of the patients, 70 percent suffered from severe behavioral disturbances, five percent from severe impairment and 25 percent from moderate impairment. Acupressure massage treatment sessions resulted in significant improvements in verbal and physical attacks, wandering and other forms of agitated behavior.
“Agitated behavior in people with dementia is a major concern for caregivers,” says co-author Professor Li-Chan Lin from the National Yang-Ming University. “It can endanger patients and others, make it necessary for them to be moved from familiar surroundings and demoralize and psychologically distress caregivers.”
In week one, before the acupressure massage treatment began, physical attacks were given an average score of 5.53. These included pushing, beating, scratching, and pinching. By week two, when the treatment began, the physical attack score had fallen to 1.46. By week five, the last week of treatment, the score had fallen to 0.53. In week six, when the treatment had stopped, the figure rose to 2.17. Similar patterns were recorded for verbal attacks and non-physical and non-verbal agitation, which included wandering, stealing, undressing, and tearing things.
“Our study findings indicate that providing patients with acupressure massage therapy significantly reduced agitated behavior and wandering,” says Lin.
The Massage Therapy program at Acupuncture & Massage College combines expert instruction, small class sizes and a positive learning environment. The Massage Therapy program curriculum incorporates the study of Eastern and Western massage modalities, anatomy, physiology, pathology, professional communication, and business management basics.
For information about Acupuncture & Massage College’s Oriental Medicine and Massage Therapy programs call Joe Calareso, Admissions Director, at (305) 595-9500.