Integrating Acupuncture Within a Wellness Intervention for Women With Multiple Sclerosis: A Feasibility Study

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Purpose: This pilot study explored change over time in symptom management, health promotion, and quality of life following exposure to a holistic intervention combining group acupuncture with group sessions about health promotion for women with multiple sclerosis. Design: This was a pre/post nonexperimental design. Method: Fourteen women (average age 54 years) attended eight classes designed to help participants build the skills necessary to improve their health and consequently their overall quality of life. Acupuncture was provided in a group setting either immediately before or after each class. Findings: Self-reported fatigue, stress, pain, depression, anxiety, and sleep interference decreased significantly, and overall health-promoting behaviors, self-efficacy for health promotion, social functioning, and quality of life increased significantly. In addition, focus groups held with the participants indicated that they responded positively to the combination of acupuncture with an efficacy-building health promotion intervention. Conclusions: The results of this pilot study add to the growing literature demonstrating that holistic health promotion interventions may have positive benefits for people with multiple sclerosis. Delivering acupuncture to a small group of individuals attending wellness classes appears to be feasible and was generally well received by the study participants.

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