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Acupressure for respiratory allergic diseases: a systematic review of randomised controlled trials
  1. Yaqun Liang,
  2. George Binh Lenon,
  3. Angela Wei Hong Yang
  1. Discipline of Chinese Medicine, School of Health and Biomedical Sciences, RMIT University, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
  1. Correspondence to Dr Angela Wei Hong Yang, Discipline of Chinese Medicine, School of Health and Biomedical Sciences, RMIT University, Melbourne, Victoria 3083, Australia; angela.yang{at}


Objective To evaluate the effects and safety of acupressure for the management of respiratory allergic diseases by systematically reviewing randomised controlled trials (RCTs).

Methods A total of 13 electronic English and Chinese databases were searched until July 2017. Two authors extracted data and evaluated risk of bias independently. Review Manager V.5.3 was employed for data analysis.

Results The literature search identified 186 papers, of which only four of met the inclusion criteria: two for allergic rhinitis (AR) and two for asthma. High and unclear risk of bias existed across all the included studies. The findings demonstrated that acupressure greater effects on the relief of nasal symptoms of AR compared with 1% ephedrine nasal drop plus thermal therapy. With either Western medicine or Chinese herbal medicine as a cointervention, one study indicated that acupressure plus salbutamol was led to a significantly greater improvement of pulmonary function for patients with asthma compared with salbutamol only. However, the remaining two studies indentified no significant differences in any outcome measures between the two groups.

Conclusions No reliable conclusions regarding the effects of acupressure on AR and asthma could be drawn by this review due to the small number of available trials with significant heterogeneity of study design and high/unclear risk of bias. Further, more rigorously designed RCTs are needed.Acupressure seems safe for symptomatic relief of AR and asthma, although larger studies are required to be able to robustly confirm its safety.

Trial registration number ACTRN12617001106325; Pre-results.

  • acupuncture
  • Chinese medicine
  • hay fever
  • allergic rhinitis
  • asthma

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  • Contributors AWHY and GBL conceptualised and designed the project and supervised the literature search by YL. YL and AWHY extracted the data. YL, AWHY and GBL analysed and interpreted the data. YL wrote the first draft of the manuscript, and AWHY and GBL reviewed and contributed to subsequent drafts. All of the authors approved the final version of the manuscript accepted for publication.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

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