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Acupuncture is a feasible treatment for relieving pain in intensive care unit (ICU) patients, American researchers report. Forty six patients admitted to an ICU who were experiencing pain and/or nausea received three 20 minute acupuncture treatments in addition to usual care. Needling was carried out at eight predetermined points (unilateral Hegu L.I.-4, Taichong LIV-3, Neiguan P-6 and Zusanli ST-36, plus unilateral auricular points Shenmen, Sympathetic, Stomach and Thalamus). Self-reported pain levels were found to have decreased by a mean of 2.36 points on a 10 point scale immediately following acupuncture, which is above the commonly accepted threshold for clinically relevant analgesia. In addition, nearly half (49%) of all participants spontaneously reported an anxiolytic effect from acupuncture. A significant decrease in morphine usage after each treatment was also observed. The decrease in mean self-reported nausea scores was not statistically significant.

Acupuncture for Pain and Nausea in the Intensive Care Unit: A Feasibility Study in a Public Safety Net Hospital. J Altern Complement Med. 2017 Apr 25. [Epub ahead of print].

 

 

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