Acupuncture for fatigue
Abstract and key points
- Acupuncture usually entails the needling of specific points on the body surface.
- The effectiveness of acupuncture for fatigue is not proven beyond reasonable doubt.
- Serious complications of acupuncture exist but are probably very rare.
Acupuncture typically entails needling specific points of the body surface. According to Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) philosophy, illness is caused by imbalances of energies in the body and acupuncture is a treatment that re-balances energies. Therefore, it is claimed by TCM-practitioners to be helpful in most human condition. By contrast, most Western acupuncturists follow the principles of conventional medicine and would employ acupuncture only for specific conditions. Acupuncture might be advocated for a wide range of conditions and symptoms, including cancer-related fatigue, particularly as some preliminary studies suggested beneficial effects. Even though some positive evidence exists to support this claim, the published data are both too scarce and too methodologically weak for allowing firm conclusions about the effectiveness of acupuncture for cancer-related fatigue.
Mild adverse effects, e.g. pain or bleeding at the site of acupuncture can be expected in about 10% of all cases, and serious complications, such as pneumothorax and hepatitis, seem to be very rare.
|Citation||Karen Pilkington, Edzard Ernst, CAM-Cancer Consortium. Acupuncture for fatigue [online document]. http://ws.cam-cancer.org/The-Summaries/Mind-body-interventions/Acupuncture-for-fatigue. December 16, 2015.|
- BAcC (British Acupuncture Council) website. Ten Top Things to Know. Available at www.acupuncture.org.uk. Accessed 17th April 2015.
- Filshie, J., Cummings, M. Western medical acupuncture. In: Ernst, E., White, A. (Eds). Acupuncture: A Scientific Appraisal. 1999. Butterworth-Heinemann, Oxford. pp 31-59.
- White A; Editorial Board of Acupuncture in Medicine. Western medical acupuncture: a definition. Acupunct Med. 2009 27(1):33-5.
- White A, Ernst E. Introduction. In: Ernst, E., White, A. (Eds). Acupuncture: A Scientific Appraisal. 1999. Butterworth-Heinemann, Oxford. pp1-10.
- Birch S, Kaptchuk T. History, nature and current practice of acupuncture: an East Asian perspective. In: Ernst, E., White, A. (Eds). Acupuncture: A Scientific Appraisal. 1999. Butterworth-Heinemann, Oxford. pp 11-30.
- Ahn AC, Colbert AP, Anderson BJ, Martinsen OG, Hammerschlag R, Cina S, Wayne PM, Langevin HM. Electrical properties of acupuncture points and meridians: a systematic review. Bioelectromagnetics. 2008 29(4):245-56.
- Zhao ZQ. Neural mechanism underlying acupuncture analgesia. Prog Neurobiol 2008; 84(4):355-375.
- Molassiotis A, Browall M, Milovics L, Panteli V, Patiraki E, Fernandez-Ortega P. Complementary and alternative medicine use in patients with gynecological cancers in Europe. Int J Gynecol Cancer. 2006 16 Suppl 1:219-24.
- Molassiotis A, Fernadez-Ortega P, Pud D, Ozden G, Scott JA, Panteli V, Margulies A, Browall M, Magri M, Selvekerova S, Madsen E, Milovics L, Bruyns I, Gudmundsdottir G, Hummerston S, Ahmad AM, Platin N, Kearney N, Patiraki E. Use of complementary and alternative medicine in cancer patients: a European survey. Ann Oncol. 2005 16(4):655-63.
- Vickers A, Straus DJ, Fearon B et al. Acupuncture for postchemotherapy fatigue: a phase II study. J Clin Oncol 2004; 22: 1731-5.
- Mao JJ, Styles T, Cheville A et al. Acupuncture for nonpalliative radiation therapy-related fatigue: feasibility study. J Soc Integr Oncol 2009;7: 52-8.
- Johnston MF, Hays RD, Subramanian SK et al. Patient education integrated with acupuncture for relief of cancer-related fatigue randomized controlled feasibility study. BMC Complement Altern Med 2011; 25 Jun: 49.
- Grant, S. J., C. A. Smith, N. de Silva and C. Su. Defining the Quality of Acupuncture: The Case of Acupuncture for Cancer-Related Fatigue. Integr Cancer Ther 2015 14(3): 258-270.
- He, X. R., Q. Wang and P. P. Li. Acupuncture and moxibustion for cancer-related fatigue: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Asian Pac J Cancer Prev 2013 14(5): 3067-3074.
- Ling, W. M., L. Y. Lui, W. K. So and K. Chan. Effects of acupuncture and acupressure on cancer-related fatigue: a systematic review. Oncol Nurs Forum 2014 41(6): 581-592.
- Posadzki, P., T. W. Moon, T. Y. Choi, T. Y. Park, M. S. Lee and E. Ernst. Acupuncture for cancer-related fatigue: a systematic review of randomized clinical trials. Support Care Cancer 2013 21(7): 2067-2073.
- Zeng, Y., T. Luo, J. Finnegan-John and A. S. Cheng. Meta-Analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials of Acupuncture for Cancer-Related Fatigue. Integr Cancer Ther 2013 13(3): 193-200.
- Deng G, Vickers A, Simon Yeung K et al. Acupuncture: integration into cancer care. J Soc Integr Oncol 2006; Spring 4: 86-92.
- Sood A, Barton DL, Bauer BA et al. A critical review of complementary therapies for cancer-related fatigue. Integr Cancer Ther 2007; 6: 8-13.
- Mao, J. J., J. T. Farrar, D. Bruner, J. Zee, M. Bowman, C. Seluzicki, A. DeMichele and S. X. Xie. Electroacupuncture for fatigue, sleep, and psychological distress in breast cancer patients with aromatase inhibitor-related arthralgia: a randomized trial. Cancer 2014 120(23): 3744-3751.
- Tang, W. R., W. J. Chen, C. T. Yu, Y. C. Chang, C. M. Chen, C. H. Wang and S. H. Yang. Effects of acupressure on fatigue of lung cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy: an experimental pilot study. Complement Ther Med 2014 22(4): 581-591.
- White A, Hayhoe S, Ernst E. Survey of Adverse Events Following Acupuncture Acupunct Med. 1997; 15:67-70.
- Witt CM, Pach D, Brinkhaus B, Wruck K, Tag B, Mank S, Willich SN. Safety of acupuncture: results of a prospective observational study with 229,230 patients and introduction of a medical information and consent form. Forsch Komplementmed. 2009 Apr;16(2):91-7. doi: 10.1159/000209315. Epub 2009 Apr 9.
- White A. A cumulative review of the range and incidence of significant adverse events associated with acupuncture. Acupunct Med. 2004; 22(3):122-123.
- Ernst E. Deaths after acupuncture: a systematic review. Int J Risk Safety 2010; 22(3):131-136.
- BMAS (British Medical Acupuncture Society). Code of Practice & Complaints Procedure. Version 9 December 2009. Accessed 21st July 2015.
The present documentation has been compiled by the CAM-CANCER Project with all due care and expert knowledge. However, the CAM-CANCER Project provides no assurance, guarantee or promise with regard to the correctness, accuracy, up-to-date status or completeness of the information it contains. This information is designed for health professionals. Readers are strongly advised to discuss the information with their physician. Accordingly, the CAM-CANCER Project shall not be liable for damage or loss caused because anyone relies on the information.