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Acupressure and Nursing

Updated on February 15, 2017

What Can Acupressure Treat?

According to Wagner 2015, the conditions most effectively treated by acupressure are nausea, chronic pain, labor pain, and dysmenorrhea. Evidence for nausea improvement is the weakest, with many studies of patients undergoing chemotherapy showing no improvement from the addition of acupuncture or acupressure. Other studies indicate that a placebo effect may be at work. Still, there is some evidence of acupressure’s effectiveness in treating nausea. Acupressure shows a clear effect in chronic pain, with an analysis of 71 separate studies on the issue, showing a strong correlation with acupressure or acupuncture and pain reduction. Acute pain, such as that experienced during labor or from menstrual distress is also shown to improve with acupressure.

Where Do Nurses Come In?

Nurses can start by checking with their state boards to understand exactly what is required to practice acupressure in their state. There are a number of resources to use to learn effective acupressure techniques that are evidence based. Many hospitals, in fact, already utilize nausea reducing bracelets. Nurses can check with their hospital to see if they can be trained on any already existing acupressure practices at their facility. Nurses are encouraged to practice the least invasive methods possible for accommodating their patient’s needs. Often times, this is acupressure, or acupressure used in conjunction with Western medicine. Nurses can use this facet of their philosophy to justify their desire to practice acupressure as a less invasive form of treatment (Wagner, 2015).

In What Settings is Acupressure Appropriate?

As mentioned earlier, acupressure has shown its most success in handling chronic pain. While the mechanism of action for acupressure is not entirely understood, neither is chronic pain. There is no need to become hung up on the lack of understanding of how the condition and the treatment work, only that it works. Acupressure has shown a statistically significant improvement for chronic pain sufferers and can be used in pain clinics as a way to alleviate the patients’ suffering. Additionally, while less evidence exists for acupressure improving nausea, no evidence exists that acupressure can increase nausea. Therefore it may be employed in oncology clinics as a way to manage nausea and vomiting as a result of therapy. (Wagner, 2015).

Reference

Wagner, J. (2015). Incorporating acupressure into nursing practice. American Journal of Nursing, 115(12), 40-45.

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