Use of acupressure to reduce nausea and vomiting in cancer patients receiving chemotherapy (literature study)
M.Battat RN*. MD. CMHN, I.Amro R.N
Head Nurse of Leukemia& Bone Marrow Transplant Unit – An-Najah National University Hospital, Nablus, Palestine
*Maher Battat, Head Nurse of Leukemia& Bone Marrow Transplant Unit – An-Najah National University
Hospital, Nablus, Palestine
Figure 1: Done by M.Battat & I.Amro 2015 The Acupressure P6 point determined in the picture And showing the SEA BAND acupressure
Acupressure is based on the ancient Eastern concept that Chi energy travels through pathways known as meridians. Along the meridians are acu-points, which are controlling points for the Chi energy flow. If the energy flow in meridians is slowed, blocked, or hyper-stimulated, it can be rebalanced or re-stimulated either by applying pressure (acupressure) or by inserting a needle (acupuncture) into one or more of these acupoints. Two points are known for relieving nausea and vomiting: the Nei-Guan point (P6) and the Joksamly point (ST36, located at 4-finger breadths below the knee depression lateral to the tibia).
Patients tend to prefer the P6 point over the ST36 point, Because of its ease of access and the freedom from restriction. When these points are correctly located and pressure applied, either through acupressure or acupuncture, the Chi energy flow is rebalanced, resulting in relief from nausea and vomiting.
The practice of acupressure requires some training and experience, but the technique is widely accessible to any healthcare professionals, particularly to clinical nurses. This acupressure technique is an approach that should be tried not only by healthcare professionals but also by family members or the patients themselves (Shin et al. 2004).
According to the teaching of traditional Chinese medicine, illness results from an imbalance in the flow of energy through the body. This energy or Qi (chee) is restored through the use of acupuncture and acupressure at certain points on the body that have been identified through critical observation and testing over 4000 years. In scientific terms, the neurochemicals that are released after needling or pressure at a specific point may be responsible for this effect. The most commonly used point for nausea and vomiting is Pericardium 6 (Neiguan or P6), located above the wrist (Molassiotis et al. 2007).
The literature review on acupressure
Acupressure for chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting in breast cancer patients: a multicentre, randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial. (Said 2009)
For a master degree in public health from An-najah National University, Said (2009) described a randomized, double-blind, placebo controlled trial that was done in Palestine with 126 women on chemotherapy for breast cancer. In this study the researcher divided the patients into 3 groups: the first group (n=42) received acupressure with bilateral stimulation of P6, the second group (n=42) received bilateral placebo stimulation, and the third group (n=42), which served as a control group, received no acupressure wrist band, but all groups received pharmacological management of their nausea and vomiting. Acupressure was applied using a Sea-Band (Sea-Band UK Ltd, Leicestershire, England) that patients had to wear for five days following the administration of chemotherapy. Assessment of acute and delayed nausea and emesis, quality of life, patients’ satisfaction, recommendation of treatment and requests for a rescue antiemetic were obtained. Said (2009) concluded that the acupressure showed benefits for delayed nausea and the mean number of delayed emetic episodes. Acupressure may therefore offer an inexpensive, convenient, and self-administered intervention for patients on chemotherapy to reduce nausea and vomiting at home during days 2-5 after chemotherapy. In addition, the percentage of patients who were satisfied with the treatment (≥ 3 on a 0-6 scale) was 81% (35/42) in the P6-acupressure group, and 64% (27/42) in the placebo group (p= 0.0471). The percentage of patients who would recommend acupressure treatment was 79% (34/42) in the P6-acupressure group, and 62% (26/42) in the placebo group (p= 0.0533). We used this study because it had a lot of essential information, it used the IMRAD system and was also mentioned in the literature (Genç and Tan 2014). This study demonstrated that the mean scores for the acupressure group were lower for both acute and delayed nausea.
Review of Acupressure Studies for Chemotherapy-Induced Nausea and Vomiting Control. (Lee et al. 2008)
In the Journal of Pain and Symptom Management Jiyeon Lee et al. (2008) reviewed ten controlled studies on acupressure in order to evaluate the effects of a non-invasive intervention, acupressure, when combined with antiemetics for the control of CINV. The review evaluated one quasi-experimental and nine randomized clinical trials, which included two specific acupressure modalities, namely, an acupressure band and finger acupressure. The effects of the acupressure modalities were compared study by study. Four of the seven acupressure band trials supported the positive effects of acupressure, whereas three acupressure band trials did not support the effects of acupressure. However, all the studies with negative results had methodological issues. In contrast, the one quasi-experimental and two of the randomized finger acupressure trials all supported the positive effects of acupressure on CINV control. The reported effects of the two acupressure modalities produced variable results at each stage of CINV. Acupressure bands were most effective in controlling acute nausea, whereas finger acupressure controlled delayed nausea and vomiting. The overall effect of acupressure was strongly indicative but not conclusive. We used this article because it is relevant, a review study, and is from a known journal.
The effects of P6 acupressure in the prophylaxis of chemotherapy-related nausea and vomiting in breast cancer patients. (Molassiotis et al. 2007)
As reported in the journal Complementary Therapies in Medicine, acupressure was applied using wristbands (Sea-Band™) in a randomized controlled trial conducted in two centres in the UK. Patients in the experimental group had to wear these bands for the five days following their chemotherapy administration. Assessments of nausea, retching and vomiting were obtained from all patients, daily, for five days. Molassiotis et al. (2007) evaluated the effectiveness of using acupressure on the Pericardium 6 (Neiguan) acupoint in managing CINV. Thirty-six patients took part in the study, with 19 patients allocated to the control group and 17 to the experimental group. The results showed that nausea with retching, nausea, and vomiting with retching, and the accompanying distress were all significantly lower in the experimental group as compared to the control group (p < 0.05). The only exception was the vomiting, where the difference was close to significance (p = 0.06). We used this article because it had a strong study design and also used an IMRAD system.
Acupuncture and acupressure for the prevention of chemotherapy-induced nausea- a randomized cross-over pilot study. (Melchart et al. 2006)
In a randomized, cross-over trial, Melchart et al. (2006) studied 28 patients receiving moderately or highly emetogenic chemotherapy and a conventional standard antiemetic for one chemotherapy cycle, followed by a combination of acupuncture and acupressure at point P6 for one cycle, and for another cycle a combination of acupuncture and acupressure at a close sham point. The results showed that there was no difference in the nausea score between the combined acupuncture treatment at P6 and at the sham point, but the level of nausea was very low in both cases. We used this study because the article had neutral results and because we trusted the source of article, coming as it did from a cancer support care journal.
The efficacy of acupoint stimulation for the management of therapy adverse events in patients with breast cancer: a systematic review. (Chao et al. 2009)
This is a systematic review of 26 articles published between 1999 to 2008 examining the efficacy of acupressure, acupuncture or acupoint stimulation (APS) for the management of adverse events due to the treatment of breast cancer. Published online on 17 September 2009 in the Breast Cancer Research and Treatment journal, 23 trials reported revealed that APS on P6 was beneficial in treating CINV. Chao et al. (2009) also presented the findings from three high quality studies comparing APS groups with control groups, which indicated that APS is beneficial in the management of CINV and especially in the acute phase, even with the non-invasive intervention. Health care professionals should consider using APS, and in particular acupressure on the P6 acupoint, as an option for the management of CINV. Furthermore, as a cost effective intervention, it warrants further investigation. We used this article because it used the IMRAD structure.
'Until the trial is complete you can’t really say whether it helped you or not, can you?’: exploring cancer patients’ perceptions of taking part in a trial of acupressure wristbands. (Hughes et al. 2013)
In Complementary and Alternative Medicine, Hughes et al. report on qualitative research undertaken with patients receiving chemotherapy in the UK. A convenience sample of 26 patients volunteered to participate in the clinical trial and to explore their experiences of using acupressure wristbands. Participants were recruited from three geographical sites: nine were recruited from Manchester, nine from Liverpool, and eight from Plymouth and the surrounding regions. Ten of the participating patients received true acupressure during the trial, 9 received sham acupressure, and 7 received no acupressure. Hughes et al. (2013) concluded that the research provided insights into cancer patients’ motivations and experience of taking part in a clinical trial for a complementary alternative medicine intervention, in which the participants perceived acupressure wristbands to reduce the level of nausea and vomiting experienced during their chemotherapy treatment. This article is important because it includes the benefits experienced by the patients taking part in the trial. This is also the first qualitative study to explore patients’ experiences of using acupressure wristbands and their perceptions of the effects. In the study, the patients perceived the wristbands as reducing their level of nausea and vomiting experienced due to their chemotherapy treatment. The study was an RCT.
The effect of acupressure application on chemotherapy-induced nausea, vomiting, and anxiety in patients with breast cancer. (Genç and Tan 2014)
Genç and Tan (2014) reported on a quasi-experimental study in Turkey with 64 patients with stages 1–3 breast cancer who received two or more cycles of advanced chemotherapy. Thirty two patients were in the experimental group, and thirty two in the control group. To determine the effect of acupressure P6 on CINV and anxiety in these patients, the P6 acupressure wristband was applied to the experimental group. Genç and Tan (2014) concluded that the total mean scores for patients in the experimental group, for nausea, vomiting and retching, were lower than those of the patients in the control group over the five days of application. We used this article because it is a recent and quasi-experimental study and used the IMRAD system.
The effects of P6 acupressure and nurse-provided counselling on chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting in patients with breast cancer. (Suh 2012)
Suh (2012) reported in the Oncology Nursing Forum on a RCT in South Korea with 120 women who were receiving chemotherapy for breast cancer. These patients had all had more than mild levels of nausea and vomiting during their first cycle of chemotherapy. The participants were assigned randomly to one of four groups: a control group (a placebo on a specific location on the hand); a counselling only group; a P6 acupressure only group; and a P6 acupressure plus nurse-provided counselling group. The purpose of the study was to evaluate the effects of pericardium 6 (P6) acupressure and nurse-provided counselling on CINV in patients with breast cancer. Suh (2012) concluded that nurse-provided counselling and P6 acupressure were together the most effective in reducing CINV in patients with breast cancer. We used this article because it is the first RCT evaluating the isolated and combined effects of P6 acupressure and counselling in reducing CINV among non-Western patients. The findings of the study support the use of P6 acupressure together with counselling that is focused on cognitive awareness, affective readiness, symptom acceptance, and the use of available resources as an adjunct to antiemetic medicine for the control of CINV. The article used the IMRAD system.
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