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Research

Acupuncture with Kampo therapy alleviates the likelihood of delirium

Researchers from the Graduate School of Medicine at Gifu University in Japan combined acupuncture and Kampo medicine to study their effects on the incidence rate of delirium. The study employed hospitalized patients, suffering from cardiovascular disease (CVD). The patients were kept in the intensive care unit (ICU) and the research focused on the impact of this combination therapy on their mental state. The findings of the study were published in The American Journal of Chinese Medicine.

Delirium is a neuropsychiatric syndrome which is characterized by concurrent disturbances of consciousness, attention, reasoning, perception, memory, and the sleep-wake cycle. It can be reversible and transient but may result in long-term cognitive dysfunction.

Traditional Chinese medicine and traditional Japanese herbal medicine are widely recognized for alleviating the unwanted side effects of modern pharmacological and surgical treatments. Patients who undergo extensive and often harsh treatments receive several benefits from the use of these traditional medicines afterward. In particular, these medicines help in the form of pain relief and improve the quality of one’s life.

What did the research team do?

The Japanese researchers observed 29 patients for their study. These patients had been urgently admitted to the ICU for conventional intensive care. During the treatment, they received conventional therapy plus a combination therapy consisting of acupuncture and Kampo medicine. The patients underwent acupuncture once a day and took an herbal formula orally three times a day during their first week in the ICU.

As per the experts, the standard acupuncture points used were,

  • GV20
  • Ex-HN3
  • HT7
  • LI4
  • Liv3
  • KI3

GV20 is the main acupoint addressing headache, dizziness, and hypertension. Ex-HN3 is located between the eyebrows and is asserted to have a mental stabilizing effect. HT7 is the Heart7 point for calming the mind and resolving emotional symptoms like anxiety, panic attacks, and heart palpitation. Furthermore, it regulates heart-related conditions and blood circulation. LI4 is the Large Intestine meridian command point or the pain point in the body. On the other hand, Liv3 is a significant point used to treat diseases of the internal organs and KI3 is the source point of the Kidney channel, used to treat age-related problems, such as night sweats, hot flashes, and arthritis.

For the main herbal preparation, the researchers used the Kampo medicine called Kamikihito which is a combination of 15 different herbs. It is traditionally prescribed to patients suffering from,

  • Hot flashes
  • Insomnia
  • Fatigue
  • Depression
  • Gastritis

Research studies also report the potential of Kamikihito as a treatment for Alzheimer’s disease. It can serve as adjunct to chemotherapy which reduces anemia and thrombocytopenia. Moreover, it can remedy cancer-related fatigue, and work as an herbal medication that can alleviate anxiety.

What were the findings of the study?

Researchers compared the incident rates of delirium in the treatment and control period. They found that there was a significantly lower incidence rate of delirium in the treatment group than in the control group. In addition, a lower use of sedative drugs and non-pharmacological approaches was observed in the treatment group. These approaches help against the aggressive behavior of patients.

The research team didn’t observe any serious adverse events in the treatment group. However, the patients did not show any improvements compared with the group, receiving a combination of acupuncture and Kampo medicine. The findings of the study suggest that the applications and efficiency of naturopathic medicine are not just limited to relieving pain after surgery. Using a combination of acupuncture and Kampo medicine is more effective in lowering the incidence rate of delirium in patients with CVD in the ICU.

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