Applications of Acupressure in Chronic Constipation Population: A Systematic Review

Tuesday, 31 July 2012: 1:55 PM

Chia-Mei Tsai, MSN, RN1
Pi-Ling Wang, MSN, RN1
Yueh-Yen Fang, PhD, RN1
Mei-Hsueh Hsieh, MSN2
(1)School of Nursing, Fooyin University, Kaohsiung, Taiwan
(2)Nursing department, Kaohsiung Municipal Chinese Medical Hospital, Kaohsiung City, Taiwan

Learning Objective 1: The learner will be able to describe major acupressure points for alleviating chronic constipation.

Learning Objective 2: The learner will be able to describe effectiveness of using acupressure in resolving chronic constipation.

Purpose: The purpose of this study was to review current evidence in acupressure therapy targeting on alleviating chronic constipation.

Methods: We search articles on acupressure therapy which used the design of randomize control trials (RCT) to investigate the effect of acupressure on the chronic constipation population, including cerebral vascular accident, orthopedics problem, aging, and people living with long-term constipation without specific cause. Three English (pubMed, Medline, and CINAHL) and four Chinese (CEPS, CKNI, CJN, and CETD) databases were used to search English and Chinese literature published up to November, 2011. Using ‘acupressure’ and its related Chinese and English key words as search terms, 31 relevant articles were identified and included in the current study.

Results: The study results indicated that, as for dealing the chronic constipation, acupressure was used for populations of cerebral vascular accident, orthopedics, elderly, and long-term care resident. All included studies presented that acupressure brought positive treatment effects on relieving chronic constipation. Ways of alleviation included increased bowel sound and number of excretions. These articles suggested five commonly manipulated acupressure points to relieve chronic constipation. These were Tin sh (ST25), Zúsnl (ST36), Hg³ (LI4), Zhng w£n (RN12), and zhigou (SJ6). The points were presented in 25 articles (80.65%).


Effectiveness of applying acupressure to relieve chronic constipation was supported by all studies reviewed. Application of this non-medication method may bring benefits to the chronic constipation sufferers with lower medication complications. It is suggested that evidence-based acupressure protocols to be developed for an effective, standardized operation in the future.