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J Adv Nurs. 2004 Feb;45(3):252-9.

Effectiveness of acupressure in improving dyspnoea in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

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Instructor, Jen Teh Junior College of Medicine, Nursing and Management, Miaoli, Taiwan, ROC.



Patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) suffer from dyspnoea in their daily life and this may be increased by anxiety. Acupressure may promote relaxation and relieve dyspnoea. Thus, it is appropriate to explore the effectiveness of acupressure on dyspnoea in patients with COPD.


To compare outcomes of acupressure using sham acupoints on different meridians and ganglionic sections with that using true acupoints, in patients with COPD who are living at home.


Patients diagnosed with COPD were selected from a medical centre and three regional hospitals in Taipei. A randomized block experimental design was used. Using age, sex, pulmonary function, smoking, and steroid use as matching factors, 44 patients were randomly assigned either to a true acupoint acupressure or a sham group. The true acupoint acupressure group received a programme to decrease dyspnoea. Those in the sham group received acupressure using sham pressure points. Both acupressure programmes consisted of five sessions per week lasting 16 minutes per session, extending over 4 weeks for a total of 20 sessions. Before acupressure was initiated and at the conclusion of the 20th session, the Pulmonary Functional Status and Dyspnoea Questionnaire-modified scale and the Spielberger State Anxiety scale were administered, and a 6-minute walking distance test was performed. Physiological indicators of oxygen saturation and respiratory rate were measured before and after every session.


The results of this study showed that the pulmonary function and dyspnoea scores, 6-minute walking distance measurements, state anxiety scale scores, and physiological indicators of the true acupoint acupressure group improved significantly compared with those of the sham group.


The findings suggest that acupressure can be used as a nursing intervention to improve dyspnoea in patients with COPD.

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