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Res Nurs Health. 2018 Oct;41(5):469-479. doi: 10.1002/nur.21885. Epub 2018 Jul 19.

Pilot randomized controlled trial of auricular point acupressure for sleep disturbances in women with ovarian cancer.

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Kaohsiung Veterans General Hospital, Kaohsiung, Taiwan.
Department of Nursing, Tzu-Chi University, Hualien, Taiwan.
School of Nursing & Midwifery, Griffith University, Meadowbrook, Queensland, Australia.


Sleep disturbance is a significant problem affecting around 50% of cancer patients. Non-pharmacological interventions can be used to improve sleep quality in cancer patients, but little is known about the feasibility, acceptability, and effectiveness of auricular point acupressure (APA) to reduce sleep disturbance in women with ovarian cancer undergoing chemotherapy. A pilot randomized controlled trial was conducted at a publicly funded hospital in southern Taiwan. Fifty-five eligible women were approached and 47 women participated. Women randomly assigned to the control group (n = 24) received sleep hygiene practices alone. Women in the intervention group (n = 23) received sleep hygiene practices and APA treatment which involved gentle fingertip pressure at acupoints on the external ear. The Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index (PSQI) was completed at four time points. Forty women completed the trial giving a retention rate of 85%. Women receiving the intervention reported a 65% reduction in sleep disturbance according to PSQI global scores from Time 1 (mean = 13.2) to Time 2 (mean = 4.65) after 4 weeks of APA treatment. There was a further 10% decrease in PSQI scores at Time 3 (mean = 4.21) after 6 weeks of APA treatment. Compared to controls, women receiving APA had significantly lower PSQI mean global scores at both Time 2 and Time 3 (p < .001). APA treatment for women with ovarian cancer produced significantly improved sleep. Participants found the procedure easy to perform. Pilot findings support the feasibility of a longitudinal study with a larger, representative sample.


auricular point acupressure; ovarian cancer; randomized controlled trial; sleep; women

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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