| women's health

Acupressure Shown to Reduce Side Effects from Breast Cancer Treatment

Study Shows Promising Results for Managing Pain and Related Symptoms

Following up on previous research that demonstrated the benefits of acupressure on reducing fatigue in survivors of breast cancer, a new study reports that the treatment may deliver improvements in a range of other side effects from cancer therapy. The same research team, from University of Michigan Rogel Cancer Center reported that engagement of this low-cost, home-based modality was effective in reducing symptoms and side effects including chronic pain, depression, anxiety, and impaired sleep among women who also reported fatigue following their cancer treatment. Study author Suzanna Zick, ND, MPH, a research associate professor of family medicine at Michigan Medicine observed “It was actually unusual for a woman to have just fatigue. These long-term side effects are a big problem. For some women, they are significant barriers in their life.” The conclusions were published online last week in JNCI Cancer Spectrum.

The latest study followed 288 patients who reported side effects from their cancer treatment in addition to fatigue. The research team tested 2 types of acupressure, a treatment derived from traditional Chinese medicine, that consists of application of pressure to specific body points using the hands, thumbs, or a device. It is easily learned and can be engaged by the patient in her home setting. Relaxing acupressure is typically used to treat insomnia, and stimulating acupressure is used to generate increased energy. The study group were randomized to self-administer either one of the two types, or to receive only standard care consisting of coaching in sleep management. Following 6 weeks of application, the study found that relaxing acupressure was significantly superior to the other 2 options in alleviating depression and improving sleep. Either acupressure method surpassed standard care in reducing pain severity and anxiety and improving quality of life due to pain interference. Two clinical trials are currently in process to test the efficacy of an acupressure app. and to assess a special wand that has been developed to assist patients in proper application of pressure.

Learn more about breast cancer.

Read about the study.

The journal article may be read here.

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