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J Altern Complement Med. 2009 Mar;15(3):235-42. doi: 10.1089/acm.2008.0164.

Effects of auricular acupressure on menstrual symptoms and nitric oxide for women with primary dysmenorrhea.

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  • 1Department of Nursing, National Taipei College of Nursing, Taipei, Taiwan, Republic of China.



The aim of this study was to evaluate the effects of auricular acupressure on relieving menstrual symptoms and decreasing nitric oxide (NO) for women with primary dysmenorrhea.


This was a randomized clinical trial comparing the effects of auricular acupressure by seed-pressure method and placebo adhesive patch.


Settings included colleges in northern and central Taiwan.


Serum CA-125 testing was used as a screening test for primary dysmenorrhea (<35 mg/dL). The study included 36 college females randomized to acupressure group, 35 to control group.


The acupressure group received auricular acupressure by seed-pressure method on liver (CO12), kidney (CO10), and endocrine (CO18) acupoints. The control group had a plain adhesive patch placed on the same acupoints with no seed attached. Acupressure protocol included massaging 15 times on each acupoint, 3 times a day, for a total of 20 days.


Primary: Short-form Menstrual Distress Questionnaire (MDQs). Secondary: blood sample of NO. Assessments of MDQs and NO were performed at baseline and within the first 2 days of their next menses (after completion of 20 days of acupressure).


In the acupressure group, the overall menstrual symptoms (95% confidence interval [CI] = -49.8 to -6.5, effect size [ES] = 0.43, p = 0.01) and two subscales, menstrual pain (95% CI = -16.4 -to -2.2, ES = 0.45, p = 0.01) and negative affects (95% CI = -11.9-2.0, ES = 0.38, p = 0.04), revealed that menstrual symptoms decreased significantly after auricular acupressure by the seed-pressure method. The ES for the MDQs were in favor of the auricular acupressure by seed-pressure method. NO level increased in the acupressure group, although this difference did not achieve statistical significance (p > 0.05).


This study supports the effects of auricular acupressure by seed-pressure method in improving menstrual symptoms, and offers a noninvasive complementary therapy for women with primary dysmenorrhea.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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