Efficacy of auricular therapy for pain management: a systematic review and meta-analysis.

Author: Yeh CH1, Chiang YC2, Hoffman SL1, Liang Z1, Klem ML3, Tam WW4, Chien LC5, Suen LK6.
Affiliation: 1School of Nursing, University of Pittsburgh, 3500 Victoria Street, 440 Victoria Building, Pittsburgh, PA 15261, USA. 2Department of Nursing, Chang Gung University of Science and Technology, No. 261,Wen-hwa 1st Road, Kwei-shan, Taoyuan 333, Taiwan. 3Falk Library, University of Pittsburgh, 200 Scaife Hall, 3550 Terrace Street, Pittsburgh, PA 15261, USA. 4The Jockey Club School of Public Health and Primary Care, The Chinese Hong Kong University, Hong Kong. 5Division of Biostatistics, University of Texas School of Public Health San Antonio Regional Campus, Research to Advance Community Health Center, University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio Regional Campus, 7411 John Smith Drive, Suite 1050 Room 505, San Antonio, TX 78229, USA. 6School of Nursing, Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hung Hom, Kowloon, Hong Kong.
Conference/Journal: Evid Based Complement Alternat Med.
Date published: 2014
Other: Volume ID: 2014 , Pages: 934670 , Special Notes: doi: 10.1155/2014/934670 , Word Count: 195

Objective. The objective of this systematic review and meta-analysis was to assess the efficacy of auricular therapy by including a sham therapy control group. Methods. Relevant, randomized clinical trials (RCTs) were identified by searching medical related databases from, depending on journal, 1900 (at the earliest) to 1994 (at the latest) through May 2013. The outcome measure was a pain intensity score. Results. Twenty-two RCTs were identified and 13 RCTs were included for meta-analysis. In these studies, auricular therapy provided significant pain relief when compared to a sham or control group. The overall standardized mean differences (SMD) was 1.59 (95% CI [-2.36, -0.82]) (13 trials, total subject numbers = 806), indicating that, on average, the mean decrease in pain score for auricular therapy group was 1.59 standard deviations greater than the mean decrease for the sham control. In terms of the efficacy of the different treatment methods, auricular acupressure boasts the largest strength of evidence for pain relief, followed by auricular acupuncture. Electroacupuncture stimulation did not show significant evidence for efficacy, which may be due to the small sample size (i.e., only 19 subjects were included). Conclusion. Further large-scale RCTs are needed to determine the efficacy of auricular therapy for pain.
PMID: 25165482 [PubMed] PMCID: PMC4140110