Acupuncture Continuing Education

Acupressure for Bone Pain – Johns Hopkins/Univ. Maryland Study

New research demonstrates that magnetic acupressure reduces severe pain associated with bone marrow aspiration and biopsy (BMAB). Doctors and researchers from the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and the University of Maryland School of Medicine (Baltimore) evaluated pain levels of cancer patients undergoing BMAB. The randomized study compared two groups, one receiving acupressure at acupuncture point LI4 (Hegu) and another group receiving sham acupressure at a non-acupuncture point on the arm. Median pain scores were similar but severe pain decreased dramatically for those receiving magnetic acupressure at the real acupuncture point.

The researchers cite the minimal training and expense needed to train someone to apply magnetic acupressure at acupuncture point LI4. Unlike acupuncture, which requires years of post-graduate training, acupressure at a single acupuncture point can be taught quickly and easily. No patients experienced any significant toxicities associated with the acupressure procedures.

The acupuncture point used in the acupressure study was LI4 (Hegu, Joining Valley). It is located on the hand between the thumb and index finger. Naturally, training is necessary to ensure that the precise location of the acupuncture point is identified by those applying acupressure. In Chinese medicine, LI4 has long been known for its pain relieving properties. LI4 is also commonly used by acupuncturists for disorders of the face, eyes, nose, mouth and ear; including the treatment of pain. Proper stimulation of LI4 is effective in relieving headaches, pain of the eyes, toothaches, jaw pain, and pain of the limbs and bones.


The Analgesic Effect of Magnetic Acupressure in Cancer Patients Undergoing Bone Marrow Aspiration and Biopsy: A Randomized, Blinded, Controlled Trial. Ting Bao, MD; Xiaobu Ye, MD, MS; Janice Skinner CRNP; Bing Cao, MS; Joy Fisher MA, CCRP; Suzanne Nesbit PharmD, BCPS; and Stuart A. Grossman, MD. Journal of Pain and Symptom Management. Volume 41, Issue 6, June 2011, Pages 995-1002. The University of Maryland Marlene and Stewart Greenebaum Cancer Center and the Center for Integrative Medicine, University of Maryland School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland. The Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland.