A recent study suggests that auricular acupressure may be beneficial for patients with glaucoma.
Auricular acupressure is based on the idea that certain areas of the ear (called acupoints) correspond to other areas of the body. When stimulated, the acupoints are thought to have beneficial effects on certain organs. Auricular acupressure is most commonly used to treat addiction, although scientific evidence is lacking.
In the recent study, 33 patients with glaucoma were randomly assigned to receive auricular acupressure or sham acupressure twice daily for four weeks. In the acupressure group, the practitioner stimulated acupoints that are thought to affect the kidneys, liver and eyes. In the sham group, the practitioner stimulated acupoints that are thought to affect the wrists, shoulders and jaw.
The researchers then evaluated the patients' visual acuity. They also measured intraocular pressure, or pressure within the eye, which is increased in many glaucoma patients.
After therapy, intraocular pressure improved significantly in the acupressure group. The most significant intraocular effects were observed after about 3-4 weeks of acupressure. However, four weeks after treatment ended, the intraocular pressure returned to the initial level.
Visual acuity improved significantly in both the acupressure and sham groups.
Her JS, Liu PL, Cheng NC, Hung HC, Huang PH, Chen YL, Lin CP, Lee CH, Chiu CC, Yu JS, Wang HS, Lee YJ, Shen JL, Chen WC, Chen YH. "Intraocular pressure-lowering effect of auricular acupressure in patients with glaucoma: a prospective, single-blinded, randomized controlled trial." Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine 2010 Nov;16(11):1177-84