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Alzheimer's: Research shows how shiatsu can help.

The Qualitative Research I have carried out investigates the effectiveness of touch, through the Shiatsu technique, on patients with dementia (including Alzheimer) at a moderate and severe stage of the disease.

In 2015 I started a project that continued until the beginning of the pandemic. Given the effectiveness and the good results obtained in the past years, I could recently revive the project.

A project in a care home

The Protected Residence “Non ti scordar di me” in Castel Giorgio, Terni, Italy, which hosts the Project, specializes in the care and assistance of people with different forms of dementia. They present important behavioural symptoms and it is precisely on these that I have focused my attention. The aim of my research was to evaluate the effectiveness of the shiatsu treatments on two main groups of patients: a group with apathy and a group with psychomotor agitation.

Shiatsu: therapy for the "here and now"

Shiatsu is characterized by its ability to adapt to the needs of the recipient in the “here and now”. Touch, listening and presence in treatments are extremely specific for each patient treated. These are essential characteristics, especially with vulnerable people affected by a pathology that includes behavioural disorders among its symptoms.

The Research

My Qualitative Research collects 450 treatments carried out to 20 people with different forms of dementia, mainly Alzheimer’s. It shows a statistic on the effects of Shiatsu treatments before and after its administration. There are also three “life stories” through which I describe the treatments, based on the characteristics and conditions of the three patients.

I collected information through subjective and objective tools.

Findings from the subjective data

Regarding the subjective data, in general I can say that people after the treatment appeared more serene, calm and relaxed. In the apathy/absence group, patients were more present during treatment and responded to the stimulus; in the group with psychomotor agitation, patients felt calm and often fell asleep.

Findings from the objective data

Regarding the objective data, I collected the values of the following vital signs: respiration rate, heart rate and blood pressure. The significant fact is that these values after the treatment were all oriented towards the respective optimal mean.

Where to find the research

For those interested in learning more about the topic, it is possible to access my research. You will find numerous graphs illustrating the data collected, enriched by analysis and discussion. You can find my Qualitative Research “Alzheimer's and dementia. Effectiveness of touch on behavioural disorders "at the following link:

Daniela Piola BA

Educator, Shiatsu Practitioner, Shiatsu and Mindfulness Teacher

"I have a holistic approach to 'personal care."

She works in Rome, Rignano Flaminio and Fiano Romano (Italy)

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