Background: Thirst and dry mouth are common among hemodialysis (HD) patients. This paper reports a study to evaluate the impact of an acupressure program on HD patients’ thirst and salivary flow rates. Methods: The acupressure program included placebo, followed by true acupressure each applied for 4 weeks. Twenty-eight patients (mean age 57.6, SD = 16.13 years) first received a sticker as placebo acupressure at two acupoints CV23 and TE17 three times a week for 4 weeks, and then received true acupressure in the same area for the next 4 weeks. Salivary flow rate and thirst intensity were measured at baseline, during and after treatment completion for both the placebo and true acupressure program. Results: The true acupressure program was associated with significantly increased salivary flow rate (0.09 ± 0.08 ml/min at baseline to 0.12 ± 0.08 ml/min after treatments completion, p = 0.04). The mean thirst intensity also improved from 4.21 ± 2.66 at baseline to 2.43 ± 2.32 (p = 0.008) after treatment completion in HD patients. There was no statistically significant difference in pre-post program salivary flow rate; however, significant improvement in thirst intensity scores was observed (p = 0.009) in the placebo acupressure program. Conclusion: This study provides preliminary evidence that acupressure may be effective in improving salivary flow rates and thirst intensity.

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