American researchers have reported that acupuncture is a feasible treatment to relieve pain in the hospital intensive care unit (ICU). Forty-six patients in ICU who were experiencing pain and/or nausea, received three 20 minute acupuncture treatments in addition to usual care.
Self-reported pain levels decreased by a mean 2.4 points on a 10-point scale, a reduction which exceeds the commonly accepted threshold for clinically relevant analgesia. A significant decrease in morphine usage was observed after each treatment. Additionally, 49% of patients spontaneously reported a reduction in anxiety. No major adverse effects were reported.
(Acupuncture for Pain and Nausea in the Intensive Care Unit: A Feasibility Study in a Public Safety Net Hospital. Journal of Alternative & Complementary Medicine, April 2017.)