Date of Award


Degree Type

Selective Evidence-Based Medicine Review

Degree Name

Master of Science in Health Sciences - Physician Assistant


Physician Assistant Studies

Department Chair

Laura Levy, DHSc, PA-C


OBJECTIVE: The objective for this selective EBM review is to determine whether or not acupressure can help to reduce symptoms in individuals receiving chemotherapy.

STUDY DESIGN: A systematic review of three peer-reviewed primary studies published between the years of 2007-2014.

DATA SOURCES: Three randomized control trials evaluating if acupressure can reduce nausea and vomiting symptoms in cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy. Sources were chosen from Google Scholar and PubMed based on their relevance to the clinical topic.

OUTCOMES MEASURED: The outcomes that are measured in the articles are chemotherapy-related nausea and vomiting. Two of the articles measured these patient oriented outcomes using Rhodes Index of Nausea, Vomiting, and Retching and the third article measured them using daily patient logs with elements from Rhodes Index of Nausea and Rhodes Index of Nausea, Vomiting, and Retching.

RESULTS: The first study conducted by Molassiotis et al3 and the study by Dibble et al5 showed significant improvement of nausea and vomiting in the acupressure group compared to the control group. However, the other study conducted by Molassiotis et al4 did not have significant findings between the control and acupressure groups.

CONCLUSION: The data presented in this review suggests that there is mixed evidence regarding whether or not there is a true association between acupressure utilization and reduction of nausea and vomiting. The one study that had significant results did not incorporate a placebo group to evaluate whether or not acupressure caused a true physiologic effect to reduce symptoms in individuals undergoing chemotherapy.3 In the other two studies,4,5 there was strong significance between the control groups and placebo groups. Therefore, further research should be conducted to determine if acupressure serves more of a placebo effect rather than causing true physiologic changes leading to reduction of nausea and vomiting in chemotherapy patients.

Included in

Oncology Commons