The analgesic effect of magnetic acupressure in cancer patients undergoing bone marrow aspiration and biopsy: A randomized, blinded, controlled trial

Ting Bao, Xiaobu Ye, Janice Skinner, Bing Cao, Joy Fisher, Suzanne Nesbit, Stuart A Grossman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Context: Bone marrow aspiration and biopsy (BMAB) is a frequently performed and painful procedure. Objectives: To evaluate the efficacy of magnetic acupressure in reducing pain in cancer patients undergoing BMAB. Methods: Cancer patients without previous acupuncture or acupressure experience were stratified by the number of prior BMAB and randomized to having magnetic acupressure delivered to either the large intestine 4 (LI4) acupoint or a sham site. The primary study endpoint was the patient's pain intensity rating during the procedure using a visual analogue scale (VAS). Results: Seventy-seven eligible patients received magnetic acupressure: 37 were randomized to treatment at the LI4 site arm and 40 at the designated sham site arm. There was no significant difference between the median pain scores of patients treated at the LI4 site and the sham site (P = 0.87). However, severe pain (VAS ≥ 7) was reported in only one patient (2.7%) treated at the LI4 site compared with eight patients (20%) at the sham site (P = 0.03). No patients experienced significant magnetic acupressure-related toxicities. Conclusion: Magnetic acupressure at the LI4 acupoint requires minimal training and expense and is well tolerated. Although its use did not significantly reduce median pain scores in patients undergoing BMAB, it does appear to reduce the proportion of patients with severe pain associated with this invasive procedure.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)995-1002
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Pain and Symptom Management
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2011



  • Acupressure
  • bone marrow aspiration and biopsy
  • pain

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Nursing(all)

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