Acupuncture improves symptoms of chemo-induced neuropathy

Acupuncture can improve tactile, thermal and vibration detection thresholds while reducing pain thresholds in the hands and feet of cancer survivors with chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy (CIPN). In a randomised controlled trial, American researchers compared real acupuncture (RA) and sham acupuncture (SA) with usual care (UC) in 63 cancer survivors with moderate-to-severe CIPN. The RA group received ear acupuncture at Shenmen, Point Zero and a third electrodermally active ear point, along with needling at Hegu L.I.-4, Neiguan P-6, Houxi SI-3, Taichong LIV-3, Diwuhui GB-42, Fenglong ST-40 and Bafeng M-LE-8. Electrical stimulation was also applied bilaterally from Taichong LIV-3 to Diwuhui GB-42. The sham acupuncture group received a non-insertive procedure at non-acupoints. After eight weeks, both RA and SA showed significantly lower vibrational detection thresholds in the feet compared to UC, with no significant difference between RA and SA. Both RA and SA also showed significantly higher cool thermal detection than UC, with no difference between RA and SA. There were no significant differences in tactile detection, vibrational detection in the hands, warm thermal detection, and thermal pain thresholds among the three groups at weeks 8 and 12.

Mechanistic and thermal characterization of acupuncture for chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy as measured by quantitative sensory testing. Breast Cancer Res Treat. 2023 Feb;197(3):535-545.