Journal Articles

Publication Date



Complementary Therapies in Medicine


OBJECTIVES: Evaluate a digital health intervention using Auricular Point Acupressure (APA) for chronic musculoskeletal pain in terms of participant retention, adherence, acceptability, and satisfaction. Chronic musculoskeletal pain is a global concern and there are persistent challenges in pain management. Despite the value of digital health interventions, these interventions need to be fully evaluated for feasibility.

METHODS: We conducted a 3-group, longitudinal, randomized controlled trial (RCT). After Institutional Review Board approval, we posted recruitment flyers in a university, healthcare clinics, and community settings. Participants were randomized into an in-person + app group (n = 8), virtual + app group (n = 7), and a wait-list, education-enhanced control group (n = 8), evaluating our outcomes using standard feasibility measures. The 4-week intervention consisted of virtual sessions, telecommunications, and our APA app, followed by a 3-month follow-up.

RESULTS: Data from 22 participants were subsequently analyzed (95.7%). All app participants adhered to the study protocol and used APA at the minimum recommended frequency and duration. The virtual + app group used APA more during the intervention and follow-up periods. All app participants found the intervention to be acceptable and at least 80% overall were satisfied with APA at the 3-month follow-up. There were no adverse events reported.

CONCLUSIONS: Our digital health intervention was found to be acceptable and sustainable; participants adhered to and were satisfied with the intervention providing support for a larger RCT.



Humans, Musculoskeletal Pain, Digital Health, Chronic Pain, Pain Management, Acupressure



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