HomeAcupressure May Benefit Breast Cancer Patients

Acupressure May Benefit Breast Cancer Patients

Acupressure may help breast cancer patients beat fatigue, a new study finds.

Fatigue is one of the most common long-term effects of breast cancer treatment. About a third of women experience moderate to severe fatigue up to 10 years after their treatment ends.


A University of Michigan research team studied 424 breast cancer survivors, who were randomized to perform relaxing acupressure, stimulating acupressure or usual care, which includes typical sleep-management techniques.

Acupressure is derived from traditional Chinese medicine. It involves applying pressure with fingers, thumbs or a device to specific points on the body.

Acupressure techniques can vary; Relaxing acupressure is traditionally used to treat insomnia, and stimulating acupressure, which is used to increase energy. The two techniques differ by which points on the body are stimulated.

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At the end of the trial, both acupressure treatments resulted in significant, sustained improvements in fatigue. But only relaxing acupressure also improved measures of sleep quality, such as disrupted sleep, and overall quality of life.

Previous studies suggest acupuncture might help curb fatigue. But acupuncture is often not covered by insurance, plus it requires people go to a practitioner once or twice a week for at least six weeks.

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