RehabWire Volume 4, Number 2, May 2002.


RehabWire for May discusses alternative and complimentary therapies in rehabilitation. These therapies include acupuncture and acupressure, holistic medicine, massage, and homeopathy.

NIDRR Projects: Research in the New Millennium

image of acupuncture on a backAcupuncture as an Adjunctive Treatment in Stroke Rehabilitation, Beth Israel Medical Center (H133G000130) led by Samuel C. Shiflett, PhD. Theresa San Agustin, MD, Project Officer.     Abstract: This project designs and evaluates safe and efficacious ways acupuncture may be used to benefit the functional recovery of survivors of stroke when used in addition to standard rehabilitation. The project directly addressess the medical, cognitive, and psychological sequelae of stroke, and addresses which acupuncture points and model to use, when to start acupuncture, and the use of electroacupuncture. The project also compares acupuncture with and without electrical stimulation in the stroke treatment.
Find out more at:

Rehabilitation Research and Training Center: Health and Wellness Consortium, Oregon Health and Science University (H133B990019) led by Gloria Krahb, PhD. Theresa San Agustin, MD, Project Officer.
Abstract: The Center has a comprehensive porgram of research, training, tecnical assistance, and dissemination with primary attention given to the physical and mental aspects of health for people with long-lasting disabilities such as cerebral palsy, SCI, multiple sclerosis, amputation, and post-polio. Interconnected reseach areas include evaluating health assessment definitions, practices, policies, and measurement, and their impact on health promotion and investigating the relationship between selected outcomes. An additional research focus is the use and efficacy of complimentary alternative medicine among people with these specific long-term disabilities.
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Off the Shelf

Physical Therapy, 81(10), October 2001, focuses on evidence-based clinicla practice guidelines on selected rehabilitation interventions for low back pain, knee pain, neck pain, and shoulder pain. These interventions include thermotherapy, therapeutic massage, therapeutic exercises, electromyographic (EMG) biofeedback, mechanical traction, ultrasound, transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS), electrical stimulation, and combined rehabilitation interventions. These practices and guidelines were developed by the Philadelphia Panel (9 clinical specialty experts nd the Ottawa Methods Group). Selected articles from this issue are available through NARIC, accession numbers J43126 (low back pain), J43127 (knee pain), J43128 (neck pain), and J43128 (shoulder pain).

Visit the National Clearinghouse on Complimentary and Alternative Medicine at

New Research: Selections from REHABDATA

Johansson, B.B., Haker, E., von Arbin, M., Britton, M., Langstrom, G., Terent, A., Ursing, D., Asplund, K. (2001). Acupuncture and transcutaneous nerve stimulation in stroke rehabilitation: A randomized controlled trial. Stroke, 32(3), 707-713. American Stroke Association, a division of the American Heart Association. Accession Number: J41562.
Abstract: Randomized, controlled study examining efects of acupuncture and transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) on functional outcome and quality of life after stroke. Results show that groups were similar in all prognostic measures at baseline, and there were no statistically significant differences in outcome variables at 3-month or 1-year follow-up.

Leber, D.A., Vanoli, E.G. (2001) Therapeutic use of humo: Occupational therapy clinicians' perceptions and practices. American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 55(2), 221-226. American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA). Accession Number: J41733
Abstract: Stud presenting resultsif a survey of occupational therapy (OT) practitioners regarding their views on the therapeutic use of humor and their own practices involving use of therapeutic humor. Results indicate that respondents with more years in the profession and respondents who worked more hours were more likely to report using jokes or funny stories in OT practice.

Johnston, L.S. (2001) The healing power of herbal medicine, part 2. PN/Paraplegia News, 55(3), 26-28. Paralyzed Veterans of America (PVA). Accession Number: J41948.
Abstract: Article on herbal remedies and their possible applications for persons with SCI or disease, including multiple sclerosis. A general discussion of herbal remedies covers single versus multicomponent remedies, standardization, and safety. A list of popular herbal remedies and their uses is provided.

St John's Wort, a yellow-flowered herb

Wong, A.M., Lin, Y-C., Chou, S-W., Tang, F-T., Wong, P-Y. (2001). Coordination exercise and postural stability in elderly people: Effect of Tai Chi Chuan. Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, 82(5), 608-612. American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. Accession Number: J42007.
Abstract: Study examining the effect of CHines shadow boxing (Tai Chi Chuan) on static an ddynamic postural stability of older adults. Results indicate that participants who regularly practiced Tai Chi Chuan showed better postural stability in more challenging conditions, such as the condition with simultaneous disturbance of vision and proprioception, compared to the group that did not pracitce Tai Chi Chuan.

Johnston, S.L. (2001) Natural prostate health. PN/Paraplegia News, 55(5), 14-16. Paralyzed Veterans of America (PVA). Accession Number: J42100.
Abstract: Article on nutritional, herbal, and alternative approaches to the prevention of prostate disorders. The article discusses beneficial and harmful foods and nutrients such as mil, tomatoes, fructose, zinc, selenium and others; herbal remedies such as saw palmetto, pygeum, cernilton, and stinging nettle; and homeopathy.

Elovic, E., Zafonte, R.D. (2001) Spasticity management in traumatic brain injury. Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation State of the Art Reviews, 15(2), 327-348. Hanley & Belfus, Inc. Accession Number: J422563.
Abstract: Article on spasticity and traumatic brain injury. Topics surveyed include neuroanatomy of neuronal control, pathophysiology of the upper motor neuron syndrome, and treatment. Treatment modalities discussed include positioning, cold and heat, electrical stimulation and vibration, massage, casting and splinting, nerve blocks, botulinum toxin therapy, neurosurgery, orthipedic surgery, and pharmacotherapy (benzodiazepines, baclofen, dantrolene sodium, clonidine, tizanidine, intrathecal medications, and other medications).

Cummings, T.M., White, A.R. (2001) Needling therapies in the management of myofascial trigger point pain: A systematic review. Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, 82(7), 986-992. American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. Accesion Number: J42491.
Abstract: Article reviewing research evidence concerning the efficacy of needling (dry needling or acupuncture and wet needling or drug injection) as a treatment for myfascial trigger point pain. Twenty-three papers were identified, but it was found that no studies were of sufficient quality or adequate design to test the efficacy of any needling technique beyond placebo in the treatment of myofascial pain.

Wolf, S.L. (2001) From tibialis anterior to Tai Chi: Biofeedback and beyond. Applied Psychophsiology and Biofeedback, 26(2), 155-174. Kluwer Academic/Plenum Publishers. Accession Number: J42664.
Abstract: Article discussing the author's career as a researcher into the use of biofeedback in rehabilitation. The author first discusses his early studies in single motor unit control. He then discusses his studies of the role of EMG feedback in predicting successful outcomes in upper extremity use and in ambulatory capabilities among patients with chronic stroke, including the application of these findings to "forced use" or "constraint-induced movement therapy." Finally, the author discusses his investigations into center of pressure feedback using computerized balance machines, which resulted in a series of experiments that ultimately led to the finding that Tai Chi as an exercise form for older adults can have a substantially favorable effect in delaying the onset of falls.

Dyson-Hudson, T.A., Shiflett, S.C., Bowen, J.E., Druin, E.L. (2001). Acupuncture and Trager Psychophysical Integration in the treatment of wheelchair user's sholder pain in individuals with spinal cord injury. Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, 82(8), 1038-1046. American Congress of Rehabilitation Medicine. Accession Number: J42783.
Abstract: Study to determine the effectiveness of acupuncture and Trager Psychophysical Integration (a form of manual therapy) in decreasing chronic shoulder pain in wheelchair users with spinal cord injury. It was found that both treatments resulted in improvements in performance-corrected Wheelchair User's Shoulder Pain Index scores, which were maintained during the 5-week posttreatment follow-up period.

hands massaging a back

Holland, B., Pokorny, M.E. (2001) Slow stroke back massage: Its effect on patients in a rehabilitation setting. Rehabilitation Nursing, 26(5), 182-186. Association of Rehabilitation Nurses. Accession Number: J42959.
Abstract: Article presenting a quasi-experimental study to determine the effects of three consecutive days of slow stroke back massage (SSBM) on 24 adult patients in a rehabilitation hospital. The Huckstadt Touch Instrument assesses physiological and psychological responses to touch, as well as the recipients' perceptions of touch. A significant decrease is noted in systolic and diastolic blood pressure after SSBM on all 3 days. The mean heart rate and the mean respiratory rate show a significant decrease on days 1 and 3. No psychological change is noted, however, perception scores indicate a positive response to SSBM.

Bowling, A.C. (2001) Alternative medicine and multiple sclerosis. Demos Medical Publishing. Accession Number: R08027.
Abstract: Book on alternative medicine therapies for symptoms of multiple sclerosis (MS), with information about treatment methos, study results, side effects, and other practical information. Therapies discussed include acupuncture and traditional Chinese medicine, bee venom therapy, biofeedback, cooling therapy, craniosacral therapy, diets and fatty acid supplements, enzyme therapy, exercise, Feldenkrais, herbs, homeopathy, hypnosis and guided imagery, magnets and electromagnetic therapy, musci therapy, neuralyn, pets, the Pilates method and the Physicalmind method, reflexology, tai chi, therapeutic touch, reduction of toxin exposure (clinical ecology), Tragerwork, vitamins and minerals, and yoga. Also includes discussions of the placebo effect, psychoimmunology, and precautions when using complementary and alternative medicine.

Freeman, L.W., Lawlis, G.F. (2001) Mosby's complementary & alternative medicine: A research-based approach. Mosby, Inc., a Harcourt Health Sciences Company. Accession Number: R08083.
Abstract: Textbook providing comprehensive coverage of alternative and complementary medicine. The first pacrt of the text discusses the mind-body connection, psychoneuroimmunolgy, and the effects of social interactions on health. Subsequent chapters cover specific therapies. For each therapy, the text discusses its history, philosophy, mechanisms, research evidence, methods, and indications and contraindications.

Micozzi, M.S. (2001) Fundamentals of complementary and alternative medicine, second edition. Churchill Livingstone, a Harcourt Health Sciences Company. Accession Number: R08109. Abstract: Volume on complementary and alternative medicine, including its history, its social and cultural context, its relation to conventional medicine, and characteristics and research support of specific therapies, medical approaches, and traditional medical systems.