New research concludes that acupuncture effectively relieves hiccups for patients with late-stage cancer. Diaphramatic muscle spasms, intractable hiccups, occur in late-stage cancer patients. This is of great concern because it is often difficult to control hiccups with medications and the hiccups interfere with the diet and sleep. A total of 30 patients were included in the investigation. 10 patients improved markedly, 18 patients demonstrated improvement and 2 patients did not respond to acupuncture therapy. Combined, the total effective rate is over 93 percent.
According to Chinese medicine principles, a healthy stomach descends the Qi energy. Anatomically, the stomach has an important role in moving food downwards. When the body is exhausted and the stomach is weakened, the normal physiological function of the stomach to descend Qi is impaired and consequently there is rebellious Qi. This is the uprising (energetically) of stomach Qi and is manifest in hiccups, nausea, acid reflux and vomiting. The researchers chose P6, an acupuncture point that is widely used to descend stomach Qi for cases of hiccups, nausea and vomiting. The other two points have similar roles. ST36 helps to strengthen the stomach Qi and ST44 is widely used to quell an inflammatory process known as “stomach heat.”
The researchers combined electroacupuncture, cupping and auricular acupuncture point stimulation. Electroacupuncture was applied to acupoints P6 (Neiguan), ST36 (Zusanli), and ST44 (Neiting). The acupuncture needles (0.23mm X 40mm) were stimulated manually until the arrival of the de qi sensation and then electroacupuncture was applied for 1 hour. Cupping was applied to CV17 (Danzhong) and CV12 (Zhongwan). Both electroacupuncture and cupping were applied once per day. Following the needling procedure, ear seeds made of Wang Bu Liu Xing (vaccaria seeds) were applied with adhesive to the auricular points Liver, Stomach, Heart and Subcortex. Patients were given instructions to apply stimulation to the points by pressing on the ear seeds a minimum of 3 times per day for a minimum period of 5 minutes. The ear seeds were replaced every two days. On the weekends, no ear seeds were maintained. The researchers conclude that the acupuncture protocol “is an effective method to relieve hiccups in late-stage cancer.”
About the Healthcare Medicine Institute: HealthCMi provides acupuncture CEU credit to licensed acupuncturists through a secure online learning management system (LMS). The HealthCMi news division publishes current events related to acupuncture, herbal medicine and important innovations in healthcare technology.
JOURNAL OF ACUPUNCTURE AND TUINA SCIENCE. Volume 10, Number 2 (2012), 117-119, DOI: 10.1007/s11726-012-0585-x. Electroacupuncture combined with auricular point sticking for hiccups in late-stage cancer. Xia-ping Shao.