1. About auricular acupuncture and acupressure
Auricular acupuncture is a unique microsystem acupuncture that has been widely used to treat anxiety (Wang and Kain, 2001), dental anxiety (Karst et al. 2007), infertility (Gerhard and Postneek, 1992), cancer pain (Alimi et al., 2003), etc. There are two main methods to stimulate auricular points i.e. needling and pressing. Auricular acupressure refers to pressing with Wangbuliuxing/Vaccaria seeds or magnetic seeds is quite popular in China, both for treatment in hospitals and self-treatment.
2. Introduction to the latest study on auricular acupressure
The latest three-arm randomized controlled trial explored the effect of auricular acupressure on short-term postoperative pain intensity after cesarean section. The study enrolled 180 patients treated with auricular acupressure, sham control, and routine care, respectively.
Auricular acupressure was performed 3, 5, and 7 hours after surgery on ear acupoints, including Shen Men, Point Zero, Pelvic, abdomen, Endocrine, and Uterus points, in both ears). The primary outcome was pain severity assessed using the Visual Analog Scale (VAS). The level of pain after auricular acupressure was significantly lower than the sham group and routine care group, at 6 hours and 24 hours. Therefore, they concluded that auricular acupressure might be an effective adjuvant complementary treatment for post-operative cesarean pain in controlling pain and reducing the need for analgesics with no adverse effect.
Alimi D, Rubino C, Pichard-Léandri E, Fermand-Brulé S, Dubreuil-Lemaire ML, Hill C. Analgesic effect of auricular acupuncture for cancer pain: a randomized, blinded, controlled trial. Journal of clinical oncology. 2003 Nov 15;21(22):4120-6.
Gerhard I, Postneek F. Auricular acupuncture in the treatment of female infertility. Gynecological endocrinology: the official journal of the International Society of Gynecological Endocrinology. 1992 Sep 1;6(3):171-81.
Karst M, Winterhalter M, Münte S, Francki B, Hondronikos A, Eckardt A, Hoy L, Buhck H, Bernateck M, Fink M. Auricular acupuncture for dental anxiety: a randomized controlled trial. Anesthesia & Analgesia. 2007 Feb 1;104(2):295-300.
Wang SM, Kain ZN. Auricular acupuncture: a potential treatment for anxiety. Anesthesia & Analgesia. 2001 Feb 1;92(2):548-53.