Acupressure and Preoperative Parental Anxiety: A Pilot Study

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Abstract

In this randomized sham-controlled study we examined the anxiolytic and sedative effects of acupressure on parents in the preoperative holding area before their children’s surgery. Sixty-one parents received acupressure either at the Yintang point (midpoint between the two eyebrows) or at a sham point. Anxiety (as measured by the Stait-Trait Anxiety Inventory), arterial blood pressure, and heart rate were assessed before and after the intervention and a Bispectral Index monitor was used to continuously monitor hypnotic sedation levels. Repeated-measures analysis of variance showed that parents in the acupressure group reported significantly less anxiety at 20 min postintervention as compared with parents in the sham group (37 ± 10 versus 45 ± 13, P = 0.03). Bispectral Index values, heart rate, and arterial blood pressure, however, did not differ between the two study groups (P = not significant). We conclude that acupressure at the Yintang point may be used as a treatment for parental preoperative anxiety. Future studies are needed to quantify the magnitude and duration of the anxiolytic effect.

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