DBN magazine defined shiatsu as “an unconventional treatment for the control of anxiety, pain and insomnia in patients undergoing radiotherapy”. This ancient technique of acupressure can in fact contribute significantly to muscle relaxation, reduce stress and, as a result, help patients to feel less pain and rest better. We talked about this topic with Valentina Chini, a nurse in the radiotherapy and radiosurgery unit of Humanitas.
Reducing the side effects of radiotherapy
By reducing the side effects of chemotherapy or radiotherapy, shiatsu can help “improve the quality of life and well-being of patients”. It is therefore part of the unconventional treatments that can be combined with medical and pharmacological treatments. A pilot study lasting five months, between May and September 2016, saw hospital patients undergo four shiatsu sessions. Before and after each session, they were asked to indicate their pain on a scale of 0 to 10. Sleep disorders were also evaluated, taking into account sex, age, cancer, difficulty in falling asleep and possible causes, as well as the need to take medication to ensure sleep. Finally, the patient’s usual state of anxiety compared to that experienced by the patient at the time of observation was evaluated.
“The results showed a clear decrease in symptoms between the first session of shiatsu and the fourth – explained Chini. The thesis certainly brought interesting clinical results, but I never thought it could leave me with so many emotions. The patients seemed to be ‘reborn’ and there was no greater satisfaction for me. I can conclude by saying that this project has helped patients a lot but no one can imagine what it has transmitted to me, it has filled my heart”.
Free shiatsu treatments in the radiotherapy department of Humanitas
Since 2013, Professor Marta Scorsetti, head of the radiotherapy service, and Antonio Modugno, technical coordinator and Shiatsu operator, have been carrying out the project “Reduction of stress during radiant treatments in the hospital through Shiatsu techniques”.
In the Humanitas radiotherapy department, patients with ongoing radiotherapy treatments can take advantage of free sessions in this discipline every week. To date, more than a thousand treatments have been carried out, with excellent evaluations and positive results.