Self-Acupressure for Symptom Management in Cancer Patients: A Systematic Review

Hui Lin Cheng, Wing Fai Yeung, Hon Fat Wong, Huen Ting Lo, Alex Molassiotis

Research output: Journal article publicationReview articleAcademic researchpeer-review


Context: Acupressure is a popular nonpharmacological intervention that is increasingly proven to effectively alleviate symptoms in patients with cancer. However, the effects of self-acupressure on cancer symptom management are less clear. Objectives: This systematic review is the first to summarize the current experimental evidence on self-acupressure for symptom management in cancer patients. Methods: Eight electronic databases were searched for experimental studies that examined self-acupressure for cancer patients with symptoms and published in peer-reviewed English or Chinese journals. The methodological quality of the included studies was evaluated using the revised Cochrane risk-of-bias assessment tool and the JBI critical appraisal checklist for quasi-experimental studies. Data were extracted as predefined and synthesized narratively. The Template for Intervention Description and Replication checklist was used to report the intervention characteristics. Results: A total of 11 studies were included in this study, six as feasibility or pilot trials. The methodological quality of included studies was suboptimal. Substantial heterogeneity was observed in acupressure training, acupoint selection, intervention duration, dosage, and timing. Self-acupressure was only associated with reduced nausea and vomiting (P = 0.006 and P = 0.001). Conclusion: The limited evidence from this review precludes the definitive conclusions on intervention effectiveness for cancer symptoms. Future research should consider developing the standard protocol for intervention delivery, improving the methodology of self-acupressure trials, and conducting large-scale research to advance the science of self-acupressure for cancer symptom management.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Pain and Symptom Management
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2023


  • acupressure
  • Cancer
  • nausea
  • symptom
  • systematic review
  • vomiting

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Nursing
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine


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