Originally published in Becker’s Hospital Review.

October 12, 2016

Pain is one of the most common complaints intensive care unit patients have, and acupuncture may be an inexpensive and drug-free way to ease that issue, according to a small study from Oakland, Calif.-based Highland Hospital.

Thirty patients in the hospital’s medical/surgical ICU participated in the three-day study. Their self-reported pain scores dropped by 2.35 points with no reported adverse effects.

Further, acupuncture treatment had the following results:

  • 75 percent of patients reported a reduction in pain and nausea
  • 59 percent reported reduction of anxiety and other positive effects
  • 81 percent would recommend acupuncture to other hospitalized patients
  • 91 percent had an overall positive experience

Edited on June 14, 2018.