Effectiveness of acupressure on pruritus and lichenifi cation associated with atopic dermatitis: A pilot trial

Kachiu Cecilia Lee, Ashley Keyes, Jennifer R. Hensley, Jennifer R. Gordon, Mary J. Kwasny, Dennis P. West, Peter A. Lio*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

48 Scopus citations


Background Pruritus is a debilitating aspect of atopic dermatitis (AD). Acupuncture has been reported to diminish pruritus, but self-administered acupressure has not been previously evaluated. Objectives To evaluate the effectiveness of acupressure on the severity of eczema in a pilot trial. Methods Adult patients with AD were randomised to an intervention group (acupressure with standard of care) or a control group (standard of care alone). Subjects in the intervention group performed acupressure using a 1.2 mm acupellet at the LI11 point, applying pressure for 3 min three times per week for 4 weeks. The severity of itching and AD at baseline and at 4 weeks were measured on a visual analogue scale (VAS), the Investigator's Global Assessment (IGA) and the Eczema Area and Severity Index (EASI). Results Fifteen subjects were enrolled, 12 of whom completed the study between November 2009 and May 2011. There was no signifi cant change between baseline and follow-up survey scores within the control group. In the investigation group there was a decrease in the VAS score (p=0.05) and EASI lichenifi cation (p=0.03), although without signifi cant change in the overall EASI score. Comparison of the scores between groups showed a greater decrease in VAS in the experimental group than in the control group (p=0.04), and a decrease in the IGA (p=0.03) and EASI lichenifi cation score (p=0.03). The overall EASI scores were unchanged. Conclusion Subjects using acupressure at LI11 for 4 weeks had improvement in pruritus and lichenifi cation. Acupressure may prove to be an easily administered alternative treatment, but larger-scale studies are needed to confirm these preliminary findings.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)8-11
Number of pages4
JournalAcupuncture in Medicine
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2012

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Complementary and alternative medicine
  • Clinical Neurology


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