Acupressure for Cancer-related Fatigue: Relaxation Points for Improved Sleep (Part 3)

In parts 1 and 2 of Acupressure for Cancer-related Fatigue we explored the stimulatory points outlined in the research by Zick et al to determine the most effective acupressure treatment formulas and dosage for treating cancer-related fatigue in patients status post chemotherapy. In Part 3, Lisa Sherman, ATc guides us through the relaxation point formula from this study which in Traditional Chinese Medicine theory is used to treat insomnia and promote restful sleep.

Zick suggested the following points for relaxation acupuncture which we will show you in this video blog:

  • Yin Tang, (unilaterally) - centre of forehead
  • Anmian (bilaterally) - behind ears
  • Heart 7 (HT7 bilaterally) - inner wrist
  • Liver 3 (LIV3 bilaterally) - between big toe and second toe

These relaxation points were stimulated for 3 minutes at a time in a clockwise circle with the hand or pencil eraser until ‘de qi’ was felt;  a sensation of dull aching, tingling or soreness.

So how did the relaxation acupressure group fare in comparison to the stimulatory group?

Well, interestingly, when comparing the effects of the three acupressure treatment groups the relaxation acupressure points were the most effective at reducing fatigue! The mean decrease in fatigue levels from baseline was 44.8% for the high-intensity group, 49.5% for the low-intensity group and an astonishing 70.5% decrease in the relaxation acupressure group! Please note, the relaxation points are intended to promote sleep and should be performed before intended sleep routines.

Zick simply theorizes that the relaxation points may be more effective at reducing cancer-related fatigue compared to the stimulatory points because they improve sleep and sleep disturbances have been positively correlated with persistent fatigue in cancer patients.

So there you have it…3 means of reducing fatigue with acupressure routines for a Quick-Pick-me-Up, Sustained Energy Boost and Improved Sleep. Thank you for taking an interest in this video and sharing it with people who you know that might benefit from these techniques. Join us next time for a routine to alleviate nausea and vomiting associated with cancer treatment!

-Susannah Haarmann, PT, WCS, CLT

Lisa Sherman, LAc practices at Asheville Integrated Acupuncture and can be reached here. She also is an instructor for Light A Path, a non-profit group serving breast cancer survivors, the unhoused, incarcerated individuals and low-income school systems in the greater Asheville area. To learn more or donate to Light a Path click here. 

Resources:

1.       Zick SM et al, Relaxation Acupressure Reduces Persistent Cancer-Related Fatigue. Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine 2011. Article ID 142913, 10 pages