Efficacy of auricular therapy for pain management: A systematic review and meta-analysis

Chao Hsing Yeh, Yi Chien Chiang, Samuel L. Hoffman, Zhan Liang, Mary Lou Klem, Wilson W.S. Tam, Lung Chang Chien, Lorna Kwai Ping Suen

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

Abstract

Objective. The objective of this systematic review and meta-analysis was to assess the efficacy of auricular therapy by including a sham therapy control group. Methods. Relevant, randomized clinical trials (RCTs) were identified by searching medical related databases from, depending on journal, 1900 (at the earliest) to 1994 (at the latest) through May 2013. The outcome measure was a pain intensity score. Results. Twenty-two RCTs were identified and 13 RCTs were included for meta-analysis. In these studies, auricular therapy provided significant pain relief when compared to a sham or control group. The overall standardized mean differences (SMD) was 1.59 (95% CI [-2.36, -0.82]) (13 trials, total subject numbers = 806), indicating that, on average, the mean decrease in pain score for auricular therapy group was 1.59 standard deviations greater than the mean decrease for the sham control. In terms of the efficacy of the different treatment methods, auricular acupressure boasts the largest strength of evidence for pain relief, followed by auricular acupuncture. Electroacupuncture stimulation did not show significant evidence for efficacy, which may be due to the small sample size (i.e., only 19 subjects were included). Conclusion. Further large-scale RCTs are needed to determine the efficacy of auricular therapy for pain.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number934670
JournalEvidence-based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Volume2014
DOIs
StatePublished - 2014

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Complementary and alternative medicine

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