Acupressure Reduced Fatigue in Breast Cancer Survivors

According to a study out of the University of Michigan Health System and published in JAMA Oncology, acupressure helped reduce persistent fatigue in women who had been treated for breast cancer. 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.

The study found that the acupressure reduced fatigue by 27 percent to 34 percent over six weeks. Additionally, two-thirds of women who did relaxing acupressure, a certain type of the healing method, achieved normal fatigue levels.

“Fatigue is an underappreciated symptom across a lot of chronic diseases, especially cancer,” said the author of the study. “It has a significant impact on quality of life. Acupressure is easy to learn and patients can do it themselves.”

Acupressure is derived from traditional Chinese medicine and is conducted by applying pressure with fingers, thumbs or a device to specific points on the body. There are two different techniques used for different reasons. One is relaxing, typically used to treat insomnia, while the other one is stimulating and used to increase energy.

In this particular study, the researchers took 424 breast cancer survivors from the Michigan Tumor Registry and randomly placed them in either the relaxing or stimulating acupressure groups or the usual care that included typical sleep-management techniques.

Interestingly, at the end of the study, both acupressure treatment resulted in significant, sustained improvements in fatigue, though only the relaxing technique also resulted in improved measures of sleep quality, such as disrupted sleep, and overall quality of life.

This low-cost, easy to learn technique could be a good solution to fatigue in cancer survivors.

raziRazi Berry, Founder and Publisher of Naturopathic Doctor News & Review ( and NaturalPath (, has spent the last decade as a natural medicine advocate and marketing whiz. She has galvanized and supported the naturopathic community, bringing a higher quality of healthcare to millions of North Americans through her publications. A self-proclaimed health-food junkie and mother of two; she loves all things nature, is obsessed with organic gardening, growing fruit trees (not easy in Phoenix), laughing until she snorts, and homeschooling. She is a little bit crunchy and yes, that is her real name.

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