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Alternative medicine may ease nausea from cancer treatment

April 13, 2009 by  

Alternative medicine may ease nausea from cancer treatmentNew research has demonstrated that acupressure wristbands relieve nausea associated with radiation treatment in a significant number of cancer patients.

The study, conducted by scientists from the University of Rochester Medical Center (URMC), suggests that targeting wrists as anti-nauseas points – an idea that is one of the basics of Chinese acupuncture medicine – may lead to a safe, low-cost supplement to use in the treatment of chemotherapy and radiation-related nausea.

In the trial, the researchers analyzed 88 people who reported some degree of nausea after receiving at least two radiation treatments. They found a 23.8 percent decrease in symptoms for the patients who wore wristbands as compared to 4.8 percent decrease in those who did not.

What is more, there was no difference between the patients who knew of previous research suggesting a placebo effect and those who were not aware of it.

"In this study we attempted to manipulate the information we gave to patients, to see if their expectations about nausea could be changed," says Dr. Joseph A. Roscoe, research associate professor at the James P. Wilmot Cancer Center at URMC.

"As it turned out, our information to change people’s expectations had no effect – but we still found that the wristbands reduce nausea symptoms," he added.

Chinese medicine practitioners believe that stimulating specific points on the wrist with a needle or the pressure of an elastic band unblocks the flow of universal chi energy.

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