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A pilot study on auricular acupressure in substance abuse treatment

Xiaowei Tian, MPH1, Satya P Krishnan, PhD, CHES1, Larry K. Olsen, Dr PH, CHES2, David W. Smith, PhD1, and Sue Forster-Cox, PhD, CHES1. (1) Department of Health Science, New Mexico State University, P.O. Box 30001, Las Cruces, NM 88003, 505-646-4532, rosytian@yahoo.com, (2) College of Health and Social Services, New Mexico State University, P.O. Box 30001, Las Cruces, NM 88003

BACKGROUND: substance abuse and its related psychosocial issues have become an increasingly serious problem in the United States and the world. Current regimens only offer a partial solution. Since the late 1980s, research about the effectiveness of auricular acupuncture in substance abuse treatment has been conducted but the results remain inconsistent. Literature about related acupressure studies is particularly scarce. PURPOSE: The purpose of the present study was to assess the efficacy and feasibility of auricular acupressure in substance abuse treatment. METHOD: The study was a placebo-controlled, single-blinded study of auricular acupressure with alcohol and illicit drug users in a selected substance abuse counseling center within a US-Mexico border city. The study included a 6-week treatment phase and a 3-month follow-up. Urinalysis, the Hopkins Symptom Checklist Depression Scale, and the Brief Substance Abuse Craving Scale were used to assess participants' use of substances during both the treatment and follow-up phases of the study. Clinical findings and statistical analysis of these findings are to be reported. SIGNIFICANCE AND CONCLUSIONS: The present study represents a seminal effort in the use of auricular acupressure as an adjuvant therapy in substance abuse treatment. Because the nature of acupressure is non-invasive, pain free, non-judgmental, and low in cost, this therapy may provide a promising approach to effective substance abuse treatment and prevention in the United States, especially in US-Mexico border region where the socioeconomic status is low, and there is relatively easy access to alcohol and illicit drugs.

Learning Objectives:

Keywords: Alternative Medicine/Therapies, Substance Abuse Treatment

Presenting author's disclosure statement:
I do not have any significant financial interest/arrangement or affiliation with any organization/institution whose products or services are being discussed in this session.

Alternative and Complementary Health Practices and Public Health

The 132nd Annual Meeting (November 6-10, 2004) of APHA