The effectiveness of acupressure in improving the quality of sleep of institutionalized residents

J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci. 1999 Aug;54(8):M389-94. doi: 10.1093/gerona/54.8.m389.


Background: Elderly people often suffer from disturbed sleep. Because traditional Chinese medicine indicates that acupressure therapy may induce sedation, testing the effectiveness of acupressure in enhancing the quality of sleep of institutionalized residents with a well-designed scientific study is needed.

Methods: A randomized block experimental design was used. The Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index (PSQI) questionnaire was used as a screening tool to select subjects with sleep disturbance. By matching the effects of hypertension, hypnosis, naps, and exercise, subjects were randomly assigned to an acupressure group, a sham acupressure group, and a control group. Each group had 28 subjects for a total of 84 subjects. The same massage routine was used in the acupressure group and the sham acupressure group, whereas only conversation was employed in the control group.

Results: There were significant differences in PSQI subscale scores of the quality, latency, duration, efficiency, disturbances of sleep, and global PSQI scores among subjects in the three groups before and after interventions. Furthermore, there was a significant reduction in the frequencies of nocturnal awakening and night wakeful time in the acupressure group compared to the other two groups.

Conclusions: This study confirmed the effectiveness of acupressure in improving the quality of sleep of elderly people and offered a nonpharmacological therapy method for sleep-disturbed elderly people.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Acupressure*
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Chi-Square Distribution
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Institutionalization
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Sleep Wake Disorders / therapy*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Treatment Outcome