The effectiveness of relaxation acupoint stimulation and acupressure with aromatic lavender essential oil for non-specific low back pain in Hong Kong: a randomised controlled trial

Complement Ther Med. 2004 Mar;12(1):28-37. doi: 10.1016/j.ctim.2003.12.003.

Abstract

Objectives: To assess the effect of acupoint stimulation with electrodes combined with acupressure using an aromatic essential oil (lavender) as an add-on-treatment on pain relief and enhancing the physical functional activities among adults with sub-acute or chronic non-specific low back pain.

Design: Randomised controlled trial.

Setting: The community centre, Old-Aged Home and Women Workers Association, Hong Kong.

Intervention: 8-session relaxation acupoint stimulation followed by acupressure with lavender oil over a 3-week period. The control group received usual care only.

Outcome measures: Changes from baseline to the end of treatment were assessed in pain intensity (by Visual Analogue Scale) and duration; lateral fingertip-to-ground distance in centimetres; walking time and interference on daily activities.

Results: The baseline VAS scores for the intervention and control groups were 6.38 (S.E.M. = 0.22) and 5.70 (S.E.M. = 0.37) out of 10, respectively ( P=0.24 ). One week after the end of treatment, the intervention group had 39% greater reduction in VAS pain intensity than the control group ( P=0.0001 ), improved walking time ( P=0.05 ) and greater lateral spine flexion range ( P=0.01 ).

Conclusions: Our results show that 8-sessions of acupoint stimulation followed by acupressure with aromatic lavender oil were an effective method for short-term LBP relief. No adverse effects were reported. To complement mainstream medical treatment for sub-acute LBP, the combined therapy of acupoint stimulation followed by acupressure with aromatic lavender oil may be one of the choices as an add-on therapy for short-term reduction of LBP.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acupressure / methods*
  • Acupuncture Analgesia / methods*
  • Acupuncture Points
  • Administration, Topical
  • Adult
  • Female
  • Hong Kong
  • Humans
  • Low Back Pain / diagnosis
  • Low Back Pain / therapy*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Muscle Relaxation / drug effects
  • Muscle Relaxation / physiology
  • Oils, Volatile / therapeutic use*
  • Pain Measurement
  • Patient Satisfaction
  • Plant Oils / therapeutic use*
  • Probability
  • Reference Values
  • Risk Factors
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Spasm / physiopathology
  • Spasm / therapy
  • Statistics, Nonparametric
  • Treatment Outcome

Substances

  • Oils, Volatile
  • Plant Oils
  • lavender oil