Aim: Insomnia is a major problem which decreases life quality. Many causes are involved with it and anxiety is often associated. The underlying mechanism is not completely understood, even though different factors seem to be associated. Among them melatonin and its circadian rhythm is thought to have an important role. In addition, acupressure and acupuncture are known to ameliorate insomnia and anxiety, when a specific wrist point is stimulated (HT 7 Shenmen). With these bases, the aim of the present study has been to evaluate the efficacy of an acupressure device, ''H7-insomnia control'', positioned on HT 7 points, during the night, in terms of general health and anxiety levels, together with the evaluation of sleep quality and the urinary melatonin metabolite 6-hydroxymelatonin sulphate determination, in a number of insomniacs.
Methods: Forty patients with insomnia were divided into two groups and randomly received either the H7 or placebo treatments, in a double-blind protocol, for 20 nights. Before and after treatments every subject answered a series of questionnaires (General Health Questionnaire 28 items; State-Trait Anxiety Inventory; Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index) and collected 24 h urines, divided into two samples of 12 h each. Urinary melatonin metabolite was then determined using a RIA method.
Results: Data obtained indicate that the device H7-insomnia control is efficacious to ameliorate quality of sleep and reduce anxiety levels in insomniacs, at a higher extent than in the placebo group. In addition, the 24 hours urinary melatonin metabolite rhythm, obtained at the end of treatment, was considered as being normal in a higher percentage of H7-treated patients, with respect to the placebo group.
Conclusion: It is plausible to hypothesize that the wrist acupressure device might be considered a valid tool, without adverse effects since it does not contain pharmaceutical products, that is able to naturally ameliorate sleep quality in insomniacs, acting through a not jet completely clarified mechanism, that may involve melatonin.