Acupuncture may be an effective treatment method for glaucoma. Conventional treaments for glaucoma may have side effects and many glaucoma patients desire a natural alternative. There is evidence that acupuncture may reduce vision loss from glaucoma or intraocular pressure.
Auricular (Ear) Acupressure and Intraocular Pressure
Auricular acupressure is a non-invasive traditional Chinese treatment that may help combat the effects of glaucoma. It aims to lower intraocular pressure and stimulate the body’s natural healing mechanism. Acupoints on the ear represent the bodys anatomical features and offer a direct link to the brain through cranial nerves.
Acupuncture clinics such as Centre of Balance Hamilton often incorporate auricular acupressure as part of their treatment for glaucoma and other eye diseases. There is a good reason for this as the technique is supported by numerous scientific studies.
In 2010, a team of 15 researchers led by Her JS published a study in The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine whereby they evaluated the role of auricular acupressure in controlling glaucoma. 33 voluntary patients diagnosed with glaucoma were divided into two groups; sham group (17 patients) and auricular acupressure group (16 patients). For 4 weeks, the patients in the sham group were stimulated at sham ear acupoints (jaw, shoulder, and wrist) without massage while the auricular acupressure group received stimulation on auricular acupoints (eye, liver, and kidney) and regular massage stimulation.
After the treatment, patients in the auricular acupressure group showed a significant improvement in visual acuity and intraocular pressure. The findings from this study indicate that auricular acupressure is an effective treatment for glaucoma.
Electro-Acupoint Stimulation and Glaucoma
Electro-acupuncture is a relatively new technique when compared to other forms of traditional Chinese medicine. It’s one of the treatments offered at Centre of Balance to address a wide variety of eye diseases including glaucoma. Similar to the auricular acupressure technique, the effectiveness of electro-acupoint stimulation is evidenced by numerous scientific studies including a recent randomised control trial by Tsui-Yun, Jen-Chien & Chi-Feng (2016).
The study, which was published in the Journal of Traditional Chinese Medicine sought to investigate the effect of transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) on intraocular pressure. Specifically, the researchers focused on the Shenmai (BL 62) and Pucan (BL 61) acupoints. 82 participants from the North of Taipei Ophthalmology outpatient department were randomly assigned to control (no TENS electrode treatments) and electro-acupuncture (TENS electrodes with a direct current on BL 62 and BL 61 acupoints) groups.
The findings showed that the electro-acupuncture group had a significant reduction in intraocular pressure (P<0.01) compared to the control group. Based on these studies, it’s safe to conclude that traditional chinese medicine may provide effective treatment for glaucoma.
Her, J. S., Liu, P. L., Cheng, N. C., Hung, H. C., Huang, P. H., Chen, Y. L., … & Wang, H. S. (2010). Intraocular pressure-lowering effect of auricular acupressure in patients with glaucoma: a prospective, single-blinded, randomized controlled trial. The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, 16(11), 1177-1184.
Tsui-Yun, Y., Jen-Chien, L., & Chi-Feng, L. (2016). Effect of transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation through acupoints of Pucan (BL 61) and Shenmai (BL 62) on intraocular pressure in patients with glaucoma: a randomized controlled trial. Journal of Traditional Chinese Medicine, 36(1), 51-56.
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