This study aimed (1) to examine the feasibility of an auricular point acupressure (APA) research protocol in terms of recruitment and for the assessment and management of pain and (2) to examine the potential APA analgesic effects for cancer patients. This study was a repeated-measures one-group design. Participants were recruited from the cancer center follow-up clinic affiliated with a large university hospital in the northeastern United States. Participants included 50 patients aged 55-87 years with a diagnosis of cancer. Participants received 7 days of APA treatment for their pain. After appropriate acupoints were identified, vaccaria seeds were carefully taped onto each selected auricular point on each ear. The study recruitment and retention rates were 92% and 91%, respectively. Importantly, the study found preliminary evidence for the analgesic effects of APA for cancer pain management. For example, by the end of the 7-day study, APA reduced pain intensity more than 55% for "worst pain" and about 57% for "average pain" and "pain intensity." Moreover, the use of pain medication was reduced during the APA treatment (e.g., 78% of patients [n = 39] took less pain medication than before the treatment). APA appears to be highly acceptable to patients with cancer-related pain. However, without a placebo control, we cannot draw conclusive evidence for the analgesic effect of APA for cancer patients. A sham group must be added to future studies to differentiate the true effects of APA from the possible psychological effects of the APA treatment.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Advanced and Specialized Nursing