People exhausted by chemotherapy felt better and had the energy to walk to the shops and to socialise, so their quality of life improved significantly after six sessions of acupuncture in a study conducted by Alex Molassiotis, professor of cancer and supportive care at the University of Manchester.
In this randomised placebo-controlled trial, the chemotherapy patients were randomly assigned to one of three groups to receive either (1) acupuncture or (2) acupressure or (3) sham acupressure.
The acupuncture group (1) received six 20 minute sessions spread over three weeks.
Patients in the acupressure group (2) were taught to massage the same acupuncture points.
The sham acupressure (3) patients were taught the same massage technique, but were told to massage points on not associated with energy and fatigue.
Patients receiving acupuncture (1) reported a 36% improvement in fatigue, whilst those in the acupressure group (2) improved by 19%. The sham acupressure group (3) reported a mere 0.6% improvement.