Pinching spine: A potential treatment for depression
In my clinic I use Tuina Chinese Medical Acupressure or Massage because it is an essential skill that I have found to be a vital part of effective treatments. Studying Tuina in Taiwan under the excellent tutorship of Hung Shui Chen I was so impressed by the range of conditions that improved with the use of Tuina Chinese Medical Acupressure or Massage and it is interesting recently to learn that the scientists have studied its effectiveness to treat depression in clinical trials. Tuina is the hands on application of medical massage techniques on Qi points (the same Qi points that acupuncturists use, to improve the body’s ability to combat or prevent disease. It is practiced in nearly every hospital throughout the Orient and its effectiveness is recognised all over the world.
The study illustrates the broad effectiveness of this ancient hands-on therapy. The study was conducted by researchers from Nanjing University and can be found published in the US National Library of Medicine. The researchers used a special Tuina technique called Spinal Pinching on rats to alleviation of depression symptoms. I do not agree that research on any animals is necessary to establish the benefits of Tuina as there is no contraindications or adverse effects to its use in the case of the treatment of depression. Chronic unpredictable stress (CUS) techniques were used to cause rats to experience depression and then Tuina pinching spine technique was applied daily for one week.During the study the rats had various measurements cataloged such as their body weight and their sucrose intake and at the end of the study, a microarray genome wide expression analysis of their hippocampus was calculated.
The researchers found that the Tuina spine pinching techniques improved behavioural activity and sucrose spending. These were increased due to the stress responses. They also found decreases of several genes related to energy metabolism, olfactory receptor and anti-oxidation. Several genes related to homeostasis, immunity-inflammation, and restriction of activities and ingestion was increased. They concluded that the pinching spine techniques showed a “potential antidepressant like effect” most likely related to chemical changes in the hippocampus.