Chemotherapy is commonly used as part of a treatment plan for breast cancer patients. While physicians have had success with a combination of chemo drugs, it often causes hair loss, fatigue, mouth sores and a whole host of other unpleasant side effects, including nausea and vomiting that can interfere with the person’s daily life and routine. There are medications available to provide relief from nausea and vomiting, however, they’re not always enough.

Fortunately, auriculotherapy is proving to be a viable complementary treatment.

A study published in Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice, set out to determine the effect of auricular acupressure in alleviating nausea and vomiting among women who received chemotherapy. They recruited 48 women suffering from breast cancer and undergoing chemo. They randomly assigned participants into an experimental group and a control group. During the initial phase of chemotherapy, the experimental group was given standard medications to control vomiting and nausea along with auricular acupressure for five days. The control group just received the standard medications and no auriculotherapy.

The researchers found that auricular acupressure decreased the number and intensity of vomiting and nausea during the acute and delayed phases for the experimental group. Their incidences of these symptoms was significantly lower than that of the control group. The authors state, “It is suggested that nurses use this pressure technique as a complementary treatment, non-pharmacological, inexpensive, non-invasive approach for the relief of chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting.”

Studies like this speak to the power of auriculotherapy. Stimulating points on the ear, whether through acupressure or ear seeds, has shown time and time again to elicit desired responses in other areas or systems of the body. While Western medicine has been slow to embrace the use of many Eastern approaches, we think, as the research continues, you may start to see auriculotherapy in a variety of mainstream medical settings. In the meantime, discover the benefits for yourself.