To investigate the effects of acupressure on lower limb blood flow for the treatment of peripheral arterial occlusive diseases (PAOD).
From February 2004 to February 2005, 30 patients with stage II PAOD underwent measurements of the lower limb blood flow. Six patients (group A) were assigned as controls without any acupoint stimulation, while 24 (group B) underwent stimulation at acupoints by acupressure. The acupoints Yanglingquan (GB34), Zusanli (ST36), Yinlingquan (SP9), and Sanyinjiao (SP6) of the symptomatic lower limbs were stimulated for 3 min. Transcutaneous oximetry (tcPO2) was used to determine the blood flow of the chest wall, bilateral distal crura, and bilateral dorsa of the foot before and during the stimulations at the acupoints.
Group A showed no significant change in the lower limb blood flow. In group B, the tcPO2 values of chest wall, bilateral distal crura, and the dorsum of foot of the stimulated lower limb increased significantly during acupressure (P < 0.01), whereas no significant change was shown in the dorsum of the foot of the non-stimulated lower limb. Moreover, the blood flow of the lower limbs that had undergone an ipsilateral sympathectomy increased significantly (P < 0.01).
Acupressure was found to cause significant increases in the lower limb blood flow of stage II PAOD patients. This treatment modality may therefore be effective for improving the symptoms of such patients.
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