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Auricular acupressure appears to improve the efficacy of treatment for nail biting in children by reducing their anxiety. In a pragmatic, randomised, crossover, pilot clinical trial, 83 nail biters (8-12 years old) received habit reversal treatment in combination with either auricular acupressure or placebo auricular acupressure over a two-month period. Then, following a two-month washout period, participants received the alternative protocol for a further two months. Auricular acupressure was performed using five points with anxiety-reducing effects; Sympathetic, Sanjiao, Heart, Shenmen and Adrenal. Placebo auricular acupressure was performed at five auricular points not considered to have anxiety-reducing effects. Magnetic seeds were applied onto one ear and removed a week later, when five new seeds were placed on the same points of the other ear. Participants were instructed to press on the points three times a day for 20 seconds per time, under parental supervision. Forty-one children successfully completed both arms of the treatment. There were significant improvements in the efficacy of habit reversal treatment, anxiety scores, nail status and gingival health in favour of the verum auricular acupressure group.

Auricular Acupressure Improves Habit Reversal Treatment for Nail Biting. J Altern Complement Med. 2019 Jan;25(1):79-85.


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