Yoshito Mukaino, M.D., Sports Science Laboratory, Fukuoka University, Japan
Translation: Shinjiro Kanazawa, L.Ac., MTOM
We studied the effects of acupuncture treatment, employing the M-Test (Meridian Test), at a corporation where health maintenance is a priority. The M-Test (Meridian Test) has advantages as an acupuncture treatment as it is easy to learn, and it shortens both diagnostic and treatment time. Nonetheless, the acupuncture treatment that applies the M-Test (Meridian Test) is as effective as theconventional acupuncture treatment.
Japanese corporate entities, dealing with the increase of medical expenses and decrease of production due to layoffs from illnesses caused by workers’ lifestyles, find it an urgent task to maintain the health of their workers. We tried to find whether a team of acupuncturists who had been licensed less than two years could help to accomplish this task.
Our two-month trial was done at one factory which employs mainly physical labor workers. The total number of workers is 245, and the average age was 53 years old. Acupuncture treatments were given for locomotorium pain in the neck, shoulder and lumbar regions. Originally 152 workers volunteered to get our treatment, but as some did not participate throughout the whole trial period, and could not be counted, the total number of patients was 117. The treatment was done once or twice a week at the factory to avoid any interruption of the workers’ production schedule.
Figure 1 shows the subjective pain scale after 8 weeks of our treatments. 48% of shoulder pain cases, 47% of lumbar pain cases, and 60% of knee pain cases reported that their pains were reduced more than 80%. 79% of shoulder pain cases, 71% of lumbar pain cases, and 90% of knee pain cases reported that their pains were reduce more than 50%.
Positive results of the M-Test (Meridian Test) were also remarkably decreased after 8 weeks of treatment.
We also applied a mental test (POMS Test) which was developed by an American psychiatric doctor to determine the workers’ moods. The results showed a significant decrease in tension, depression, anger, fatigue and mental confusion after 8 weeks. This means the acupuncture treatments simultaneously contributed to stabilize the mind and reduce fatigue. We found there were changes in blood pressure, too. Hypertension patients significantly reduced both systolic and diastolic numbers. The patients with normal blood pressure did not change systolic numbers, but significantly raised diastolic numbers within normal ranges.
We traced the effects of our acupuncture treatment based on the number of visits to conventional hospitals, and the medical expense of acupuncture treatments at the factory (Figure 2).
Before acupuncture was introduced, between April and October ’99, there was an average of 89 visits per month to conventional hospitals by workers of this factory for locomotorium pains. In November and December ’99, after acupuncture was introduced, the average number of visits to conventional hospitals per month decreased to 38. When we put the medical expense in April ’99 as 1, the average medical expense between November and December was 0.18, less than 1/5 of April’s expense. This means the introduction of acupuncture treatments at the factory might reduce medical expenses, even if the factory pays personnel expenses for acupuncturists.
Our trial was limited to two months, but it showed that acupuncture treatment using the M-Test (Meridian Test) significantly improved the physical and mental health of workers and reduced medical expenses for the factory. This result gave us enough evidence to conclude that acupuncture treatment using the M-Test (Meridian Test) could benefit corporations where health maintenance of the workers is an urgent priority.
We find two modern meanings in the Oriental wisdom of traditional health maintenance, “prevent the illness before it shows its symptom” using acupuncture: 1) to “prevent the illness before it shows its symptom” by increasing maximum uptake of oxygen with exercise, 2) to improve health maintenance by utilizing meridian theory. We hope acupuncture will accomplish its role of “preventing the illness before it shows its symptom” in the corpoate world in the near future.