Acupuncture/ pressureCancerNausea/Vomiting

Self-acupuncture among people with beast cancer

acupunctureMan11Maintenance acupuncture is recommended following successful clinic-based acupuncture.

Researchers at the University of Manchester, UK, assessed the effectiveness of self-maintenance acupuncture in the management of cancer-related fatigue (CRF).

First, the details.

  • 197 breast cancer patients who participated in an earlier study were re-randomized to the following treatment options.
    • Additional 4 acupuncturist-delivered weekly sessions
    • 4 self-administered weekly acupuncture sessions (self-needling)
    • No acupuncture
  • Primary outcome was general fatigue (Multidimensional Fatigue Inventory).
  • Mood, quality of life and safety were also assessed.

And, the results.

  • Scores for fatigue were equivalent between therapist-delivered acupuncture and self-acupuncture.
  • No improvement in fatigue was observed at the end of 4 weeks with combined acupuncture.
  • At 18 weeks there was no impact on mood or quality of life due to further acupuncture sessions beyond the improvement observed in initial trial.

The bottom line?

The authors concluded, “Overall, maintenance acupuncture did not yield important improvements beyond those observed after an initial clinic-based course of acupuncture.”

On the other hand, the ability to maintain the treatment response following therapist-delivered acupuncture is important in terms of patient convenience and cost, not to mention quality of life.

Another study of 20 patients reported, “Cancer patients can be safely taught self administration of acupuncture at P6 in order to reduce the severity of chemotherapy associated nausea.

More about self-administered acupuncture and the P6 inner gate is here.

2/25/13 10:12 JR

Hi, I’m JR

John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at, a complementary and alternative medicine website.