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J Pain Symptom Manage. 2011 Oct;42(4):589-603. doi: 10.1016/j.jpainsymman.2011.01.007. Epub 2011 Apr 30.

The efficacy of acupressure for symptom management: a systematic review.

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Central Baptist Hospital, Lexington, Kentucky, USA.



Acupressure is a noninvasive strategy used to manage various symptoms.


The purpose of this article was to review randomized controlled trials that investigated the efficacy of acupressure for the management of symptoms.


A literature search was conducted in the Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature, Medline, and PubMed using the key words acupressure, clinical trial, human, and/or randomized. Randomized clinical trials published between January 1, 2000 and January 31, 2010, which used acupressure as the sole intervention for one group, were included when they were written in English and when there were four or more studies of the efficacy of acupressure for that particular symptom.


Forty-three studies were included in this review. Investigators in 16 of 23 studies concluded acupressure was effective, primarily for the management of nausea and vomiting in patients during pregnancy and during chemotherapy. Investigators in nine of 10 studies concluded that acupressure was effective for pain in patients with dysmenorrhea, during labor and after trauma. Investigators of four studies concluded that acupressure was effective in the management of dyspnea and investigators in six studies concluded that acupressure was effective in improving fatigue and reducing insomnia in a variety of populations. However, evaluation of the randomized controlled trial reports indicated a significant likelihood of bias.


Acupressure may be a useful strategy for the management of multiple symptoms in a variety of patient populations, but rigorous trials are needed. Inclusion of acupressure as an intervention may improve patient outcomes.

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