Massage Therapy and Acupuncture for Children With Chronic Pulmonary Disease

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Increasing numbers of patients use complementary and alternative medical therapies. Use is particularly common in those with chronic diseases such as asthma and cystic fibrosis. Patients and families typically seek such therapies to relieve symptoms and to know they have explored all reasonable, safe options. Abandoning conventional therapies is rare when physicians support families’ values and goals. At the Children's Hospital in Boston, massage and acupuncture have become standard treatments for patients admitted to hospital with cystic fibrosis. Our experience and clinical studies support the use of both massage and acupuncture to help decrease pain, anxiety, and dyspnea and to improve sleep in patients with chronic lung disease. Awareness of existing data may enhance availability and provision of acupuncture and massage services for appropriate patients. Additional research is needed to determine the optimal type, timing, duration, and frequency of these services in combination with standard therapies for patients with chronic pulmonary conditions.

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