A study published in the European Journal of Oncology Nursing found that acupressure and reflexology can help address fatigue commonly experienced by patients with chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL).

The authors conducted a randomized, controlled trial with three arms and a pretest-post-test design. The study’s primary objective was to assess the impact of acupressure and reflexology on fatigue in (CLL).

The authors wrote, “Cancer-induced fatigue, a prevalent and troubling symptom among cancer patients, manifests as enduring physical, emotional, and cognitive weariness not alleviated by rest or sleep. This fatigue profoundly affects an individual's quality of life and their capacity to engage in everyday tasks. It has been reported by approximately 32.54% of cancer patients and 91% of CLL patients, significantly impacting their daily functioning and social interactions.”

The study included 102 patients diagnosed with CLL who were randomly assigned to one of three groups: Group 1 received acupressure, Group 2 received reflexology, and Group 3 was designated as the control group. Each group contained 34 participants. The researchers conducted preintervention assessments utilizing a demographic questionnaire and a fatigue scale for cancer patients.

The 34 patients in the acupressure group received routine care, with acupressure targeting the SP6 point for 10 minutes twice daily over 4 weeks. The 34 patients in the reflexology group received daily 10-minute reflexology sessions over 4 consecutive weeks, which entailed preparing and lubricating the soles of their feet with sweet almond oil and applying pressure to reflex points on the feet. All three study groups were given a postintervention assessment utilizing the same assessment tools administered at the initiation of the trial.

The results indicated that both acupressure and reflexology substantially decreased fatigue compared with the control group (P <.001).

The authors wrote, “While differences were noted between acupressure, reflexology, and control groups initially, the post-intervention analysis revealed no significant variance between acupressure and reflexology in reducing fatigue (P <.05), suggesting similar improvement between acupressure and reflexology.”

Based on their findings, the authors concluded that acupressure and reflexology are recommended therapies for patients with CLL. The authors also indicated that acupressure and reflexology are cost-effective and low-risk nonpharmacological complementary approaches that can effectively manage fatigue in this patient population, lessen fatigue, and improve patient quality of life.

Lastly, the authors wrote, “The findings support the integration of these complementary therapies into comprehensive care plans for CLL patients and underscore the need for further research to elucidate their long-term effects and mechanisms of action.”

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