Regardless of the advances in cancer treatment, cancer-related pain is still one of the most challenging symptoms that patients face. In the United States, cancer patients have turned to a wide variety of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) therapies as an adjunct to conventional cancer treatments. This paper introduces Auricular Point Acupressure (APA), an innovative acupuncture technique that (1) features the use of seed patches instead of needles and (2) treats only the acupoints located on the surface of the ear. The technique not only offers a less invasive alternative to acupuncture, but also can be self-managed—the patient is instructed to press the points on which the patches have been placed at regular intervals and as needed to decrease pain. As a non-invasive, semi-self-managed, non-pharmacological technique for pain relief, APA has minimal side effects and, therefore, may be particularly acceptable to cancer patients. This paper describes the historical development of auricular therapy, auricular therapy treatments, a proposed biological mechanism underlying the analgesic effects of APA, and the implications of APA on nursing practice for cancer-related pain management.
- Auricular therapy
- Cancer-related pain