Report on disaster medical operations with acupuncture/massage therapy after the great East Japan earthquake

Integr Med Insights. 2012:7:1-5. doi: 10.4137/IMI.S9541. Epub 2012 Apr 23.


The Great East Japan Earthquake inflicted immense damage over a wide area of eastern Japan with the consequent tsunami. Department of Traditional Asian Medicine, Tohoku University, started providing medical assistance to the disaster-stricken regions mainly employing traditional Asian therapies.We visited seven evacuation centers in Miyagi and Fukushima Prefecture and provided acupuncture/massage therapy. While massage therapy was performed manually, filiform needles and press tack needles were used to administer acupuncture. In total, 553 people were treated (mean age, 54.0 years; 206 men, 347 women). Assessment by interview showed that the most common complaint was shoulder/back stiffness. The rate of therapy satisfaction was 92.3%. Many people answered that they experienced not only physical but also psychological relief.At the time of the disaster, acupuncture/massage therapy, which has both mental and physical soothing effects, may be a therapeutic approach that can be effectively used in combination with Western medical practices.

Keywords: Great East Japan Earthquake; Traditional Asian Medicine; acupuncture; disaster; massage.