Supportive Care in Cancer

, Volume 14, Issue 8, pp 878–882 | Cite as

Acupuncture and acupressure for the prevention of chemotherapy-induced nausea—a randomised cross-over pilot study

  • Dieter Melchart
  • Angela Ihbe-Heffinger
  • Birgit Leps
  • Christoph von Schilling
  • Klaus Linde
Short Communication



To investigate whether a combination of acupuncture and acupressure is effective for reducing chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting.

Patients and methods

In a randomised cross-over trial, 28 patients receiving moderately or highly emetogenic chemotherapy and conventional standard antiemesis were treated for one chemotherapy cycle with a combination of acupuncture and acupressure at point P6 and for one cycle at a close sham point. The main outcome measure was a nausea score derived from daily intensity rating.


There was no difference between combined acupuncture and acupressure treatment at P6 and at the sham point for the nausea score, but the level of nausea was very low in both phases. The mean nausea score was 6.2 (standard deviation 9.0) for treatment at P6 and 6.3 (9.1) for treatment at the sham point (mean difference −0.1, 95% confidence interval −3.9 to 3.7; p=0.96). Seventeen of 21 participants completing the study would desire acupuncture and acupressure for future chemotherapy cycles, but there was no clear preference for either point.


In this small pilot study a significant difference between treatment at P6 and a close sham point could not be detected. However, it cannot be ruled out that an existing difference was missed due to the small sample size.


Nausea Emesis Acupuncture Chemotherapy Randomised controlled trial 



The authors would like to thank Li Li for performing acupuncture in the trial. The study was realised without external funding from the resources of the Centre for Complementary Medicine Research. Acupressure bands were kindly supplied by Hop GmbH, Haibach, Germany.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Dieter Melchart
    • 1
  • Angela Ihbe-Heffinger
    • 2
  • Birgit Leps
    • 1
  • Christoph von Schilling
    • 3
  • Klaus Linde
    • 1
  1. 1.Centre for Complementary Medicine Research, Department of Internal Medicine IITechnische Universität MünchenMünchenGermany
  2. 2.Klinikum rechts der Isar, Department of PharmacyTechnische Universität MünchenMünchenGermany
  3. 3.Klinikum rechts der Isar, Department of Internal Medicine IIITechnische Universität MünchenMünchenGermany

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