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The Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness 1999 December;39(4):328-35

Copyright © 2000 EDIZIONI MINERVA MEDICA

language: English

Physiologic study of pressure point techniques used in the martial arts

Terry C. 1, Barclay D. K. 2, Patterson T. 2, Stecker M. M. 2

1 Department of Rehabilitation Medicine, Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia; 2 Department of Neurology, Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia


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Background. Study phys­io­log­ic chang­es occur­ring dur­ing “knock­outs” pro­duced by appli­ca­tion of pres­sure ­point tech­niques dur­ing mar­tial ­arts dem­on­stra­tions.
Methods. Experimental ­design: pros­pec­tive anal­y­sis of phys­io­log­ic var­i­ables dur­ing and imme­di­ate­ly fol­low­ing an ­acute ­event. Setting: mar­tial ­arts dem­on­stra­tion car­ried out at a med­i­cal cen­ter hos­pi­tal. Subjects: 12 nor­mal vol­un­teers par­tic­i­pat­ing in a mar­tial ­arts dem­on­stra­tion. Interventions: appli­ca­tion of var­i­ous pres­sure ­point tech­niques ­that ­have ­been ­observed to pro­duce ­states of unre­spon­sive­ness in vol­un­teers. Measures: con­tin­u­ous ECG and vid­eo/EEG mon­i­tor­ing ­with meas­ure­ments of ­blood pres­sure and oxy­gen sat­u­ra­tion. Qualitative anal­y­sis of EEG and ECG record­ings and quan­ti­ta­tive com­par­i­son of ­heart ­rate, ­blood pres­sure, and oxy­gen sat­u­ra­tion meas­ure­ments ­before dur­ing and ­after the peri­od of ­induced uncon­scious­ness.
Results. No sig­nif­i­cant chang­es in ­blood pres­sure, oxy­gen sat­u­ra­tion, car­diac ­rate or ­rhythm, or elec­tro­en­ceph­a­lo­gram are not­ed dur­ing the knock­outs pro­duced by appli­ca­tion of pres­sure ­point tech­niques. There was ­only var­i­able inabil­ity for sub­jects to remem­ber ­words spok­en to ­them dur­ing the epi­sode of appar­ent unre­spon­sive­ness.
Conclusions. The mech­a­nism for the ­state of unre­spon­sive­ness pro­duced by appli­ca­tion of pres­sure ­point tech­niques is not relat­ed to a sig­nif­i­cant car­diac or pul­mo­nary pro­cess. There is no evi­dence of ­reduced cere­bral ­blood ­flow dur­ing ­this ­time or of oth­er dan­ger­ous phys­io­log­ic chang­es. The ­exact mech­a­nism for ­this phe­nom­e­non ­remains uncer­tain.

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