Self-Administered Acupressure Reduces Fatigue in Breast Cancer Survivors — Physician’s First Watch

Medical News |
July 8, 2016

Self-Administered Acupressure Reduces Fatigue in Breast Cancer Survivors

By Amy Orciari Herman

Edited by André Sofair, MD, MPH, and William E. Chavey, MD, MS

Breast cancer survivors with persistent fatigue could benefit from a course of acupressure, a JAMA Oncology study suggests.

Some 270 women who'd completed breast cancer treatment at least 12 months earlier and still had fatigue were randomized to perform self-administered acupressure daily or to receive usual care for 6 weeks. At baseline, women assigned to acupressure were trained briefly in either relaxing or stimulating acupressure.

At the end of the treatment period, significantly more women in the relaxing and stimulating acupressure groups achieved normal fatigue levels (66% and 61% of participants, respectively), compared with usual care (31%). The effect persisted after a 4-week washout period. Relaxing acupressure also improved sleep and quality-of-life.

The authors conclude: "Self-administered relaxing acupressure could offer an inexpensive, easy-to-learn intervention for improving fatigue, sleep, and quality of life in fatigued breast cancer survivors."

Reader Comments (4)

cari brackett, pharmd Other, Family Medicine/General Practice, Ohio State

This is not a 'placebo controlled' trial; how can we POSSIBLY reach this conclusion? These groups did not receive similar treatment.

Kay Jackson, CNM, ARNP Other Healthcare Professional, Obstetrics/Gynecology, Off the Grid Midwifery & Women's Health

As a "survivor" of two different types of invasive breast CA (with the bilateral mastectomies and their requisite complications), I find Dr. Silverstein's comment about "will to improve" upsetting in the least. I've been caring for women in all stages of life, health, and illness for over 30 years. It's disturbing to me that a preventive medicine physycian characterizes a technique that might actually help as simply the reflection of any one person's "will to improve." The will to improve failed my father in his two bouts with cancer, and mine is an off and on thing at best. Yet here I am, two years out from opening a new private practice, and fighting fatigue, depression, and pain on a daily basis. Like Dr. Wolmendorf, I'd like a link to some of these techniques, both for myself and the growing number of my patients with breast cancer and other serious illnesses.


One of those "other" health care practitioners

Susan Womeldorf Physician, Community Health Center

Any info on the actual acupressure maneuvers? Not something I will be able to refer my Medicaid and uninsured patients to, but if I can see a training video, I could pass this on! Thanks. Hi

H ROBERT SILVESTEIN Physician, Internal Medicine, Preventive Medicine Center

This study actually shows the power of positive thinking & the will to improve based on a more effective support system: this is very much CBT "record keeping"

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