Natural Standard Monograph, Copyright © 2014 (www.naturalstandard.com). Commercial distribution prohibited. This monograph is intended for informational purposes only, and should not be interpreted as specific medical advice. You should consult with a qualified health care professional before making decisions about therapies and/or health conditions.
The below uses are based on tradition or scientific theories. They often have not been thoroughly tested in humans, and safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious and should be evaluated by a qualified health care professional.
Uses based on scientific evidence
These uses have been tested in humans or animals. Safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare professional.
Numerous scientific studies support the use of wrist acupressure at the P6 acupoint (also known as Neiguan) in the prevention and treatment of nausea after surgery, intra-operative nausea (during spinal anesthesia), nausea from chemotherapy, as well as pregnancy related nausea/vomiting and morning sickness. Effects have been noted in children as well as adults.
Acupressure may significantly reduce general and pre-operative anxiety. However, these studies have been small and poorly designed, warranting better-quality research.
Acupressure using aromatic essential oils (lavender) may reduce pain intensity, stiffness, and stress in patients with neck pain for up to one month.Auricular acupressure may reduce pain and anxiety among hip fracture patients. Acupressure may also aid in the improvement of hemiplegic shoulder pain and motor power among stroke patients.
Agitated behavior (in dementia)
Acupressure may decrease verbal and physical agitation among dementia patients. Further study is needed before recommendations can be made.
Acupressure at stimulation and relaxation points may have different effects on alertness in a classroom setting. Further research is necessary to confirm these findings.
Asthma (quality of life)
Preliminary research suggests that patients with chronic asthma who receive acupressure may experience improved quality of life. Further well-designed studies are needed before firm conclusions can be drawn.
Early research seems promising. Further research is necessary before a recommendation can be made.
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
A combination of acupressure and massage may reduce dyspnea (labored breathing) and anxiety in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease who use prolonged mechanical ventilatory support. Further study of acupressure alone is needed before a recommendation can be made.
Several studies suggest that fatigue and depressive mood may improve with acupressure therapy. Further research is necessary to confirm these findings.
Preliminary evidence suggests that acupressure may be a helpful adjunct therapy to assist with the prevention of relapse, withdrawal, or dependence. Further research is necessary to confirm these findings before a firm conclusion can be reached.
Dyspnea (shortness of breath)
A small study of patients undergoing pulmonary rehabilitation reported acupressure to be beneficial for decreasing dyspnea. Larger, well-designed studies are needed before clear conclusions can be drawn.
Preliminary evidence suggests that acupressure may help epileptic seizures among children. Further research is needed to confirm these results.
Preliminary research reports that ear acupressure may reduce muscle fatigue and lactic acid production, thereby possibly improving athletic performance. Additional research is necessary before a firm conclusion can be drawn.
There is preliminary positive evidence from one small study in this area. Further research is needed before a clear recommendation can be made.
A small study suggests acupressure may improve gastrointestinal motility. Additional research is necessary before a firm conclusion can be drawn.
Self-administered acupressure is reported to help tension or migraine headaches in early studies. More research is needed before a recommendation can be made.
High blood pressure
Small studies in men and women report that acupressure may reduce blood pressure. Study results on the effect of acupressure on heart rate have yielded mixed results. Large, well-designed studies are needed before conclusions can be drawn.
One study reports that LI4 and BL67 acupressure may reduce labor pain specifically during the first stage of labor. Further study is needed before a recommendation can be made.
Low back pain
One study showed that acupressure was effective in reducing low back pain in terms of disability, pain scores, and functional status. The benefit was sustained for six months. More study is needed to make a firm recommendation.
Based on initial research, acupressure may reduce menstrual pain severity, pain medication use, and anxiety associated with menstruation. Further research is needed before a clear recommendation can be made.
Preliminary research in patients with advanced progressive diseases reports that acupressure may improve energy levels, relaxation, confidence, symptom control, thought clarity, and mobility. Further research is necessary to confirm these findings.
Acupressure may benefit several measures of severity of Parkinson's disease. Further study is needed before recommendations may be made.
Several studies report that acupressure provides pain relief to patients after surgeries. Research suggests that acupressure may be as effective as intravenous pain medications. However, further evidence is needed from well-designed trials before a firm conclusion can be drawn.
Results from preliminary study suggest a benefit of vaginal acupressure/pelvic massage in the reduction of aspects of sexual dysfunction. Additional studies are needed.
A small study reports that acupressure may provide early prevention and treatment for sleep apnea. Larger, well-designed studies are needed before conclusions can be drawn. Patients with known or suspected sleep apnea should consult with a licensed healthcare professional.
Preliminary research supports the use of acupressure for improving sleep quality in elderly patients and possibly in healthy adults of all ages. Better-designed trials are needed to support these results.
Early study indicates that auricular acupressure may help with quitting smoking. Further research is needed to confirm these results.
Promising early data suggests acupressure may aid in the recovery of post-stroke paralysis.
Results from a meta-analysis do not support use of tuina for cervical spondylosis.
Preliminary evidence suggests that acupressure may not be effective for weight loss but may aid in weight maintenance following weight loss.
*Key to grades:
A: Strong scientific evidence for this use;B: Good scientific evidence for this use; C: Unclear scientific evidence for this use;D: Fair scientific evidence against this use (it may not work);F: Strong scientific evidence against this use (it likely does not work).
For full grading rationale, click here.
Uses based on tradition or theory
The below uses are based on tradition or scientific theories. They often have not been thoroughly tested in humans, and safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified health care professional
Abuse (sexual, physical, psychological), angina, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, anorexia nervosa, apoplectic hemiplegia, arthritis, beauty treatment, Bell's palsy, bloating (after surgery), cancer therapy for children, cancer treatment side-effects (other than nausea), carpal tunnel syndrome, cerebral birth injuries (infants), childbirth facilitation/induction, colds/flu, congestion, constipation, chronic fatigue syndrome, dementia, edema, emotional repression/trauma, eyestrain, fatigue, fibromyalgia, gag reflex abnormalities (for prevention during dental procedures), gastrointestinal disorders, gum disease, head injury, HIV/AIDS, hormonal pain, hyperactivity, immune deficiencies, itchiness, joint inflammation, jetlag, kidney infection (related pain), menopausal pain, multiple sclerosis, muscle tension/ache, neuralgia (postherpetic), optic atrophy, organ transplantation, phobias, poor circulation, post-traumatic stress disorder, prolapse of lumbar intervertebral disc, psoriasis, recurrent urinary tract infections, renal disease, restless leg syndrome, Rett syndrome, sickle cell anemia (pain), sinus problems, sports injuries, stress, sunburn pain, tendonitis, toothache, ulcer pain, weight gain (premature infants).
Many complementary techniques are practiced by healthcare professionals with formal training, in accordance with the standards of national organizations. However, this is not universally the case, and adverse effects are possible. Due to limited research, in some cases only limited safety information is available.
Natural Standard developed the above evidence-based information based on a systematic review of the available scientific articles. For comprehensive information about alternative and complementary therapies on the professional level, go to www.naturalstandard.com. Selected references are listed below.
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