Molassiotis, A., Bardy, J., Finnegan-John, J., Mackereth, P., Ryder, W. D., Filshie, J., . . . Richardson, A. (2013). A randomized, controlled trial of acupuncture self-needling as maintenance therapy for cancer-related fatigue after therapist-delivered acupuncture. Annals of Oncology, 24, 1645–1652.doi: 10.1093/annonc/mdt034
To determine if maintenance acupuncture is beneficial in sustaining improvements in fatigue after a course of acupuncture.
Patients in a previous six-week acupuncture trial were rerandomized to three groups: maintenance self-acupuncture, therapist-delivered maintenance acupuncture, or a control group receiving usual care. Maintenance therapy lasted for four weeks. Standard acupuncture points were used, and sessions were weekly. Data were collected at the end of four weeks and at 12 weeks after rerandomization.
Patients were undergoing the transition phase of care after active treatment.
The study was a randomized, controlled trial.
Results showed a trend of fatigue improvement in the combined acupuncture groups compared to the control; the trend was not significant. In regard to results reflecting anxiety or depression, the study showed no differences between groups. Patients' logs indicated that patients performed self-needling as planned.
Findings suggested that it is feasible for patients to maintain acupuncture treatment through self-needling. Compared to symptom improvement in patients in the control group, symptom improvement in patients undergoing maintenance acupuncture through self-needling or through delivery by a therapist was not significant.
The study showed that patients can be taught to deliver their own acupuncture treatments effectively by self-needling. The study did not demonstrate that ongoing acupuncture, or maintenance acupuncture, had any effect on fatigue, anxiety, or depression.