Effect of acupressure with valerian oil 2.5% on the quality and quantity of sleep in patients with acute coronary syndrome in a cardiac intensive care unit

J Tradit Complement Med. 2015 Jan 31;5(4):241-7. doi: 10.1016/j.jtcme.2014.11.005. eCollection 2015 Oct.


The purpose of this three-group double-blind clinical trial study was to investigate the effect of acupressure ( zhǐ yā) with valerian ( xié cǎo) oil 2.5% on the quality and quantity of sleep in patients with acute coronary syndrome (ACS) in a coronary intensive care unit (CCU). This study was conducted on 90 patients with ACS in Mazandaran Heart Center (Sari, Iran) during 2013. The patients were randomly assigned to one of three groups. Patients in the acupressure with valerian oil 2.5% group (i.e., valerian acupressure group) received bilateral acupoint ( xué wèi) massage with two drops of valerian oil for 2 minutes for three nights; including every point this treatment lasted in total 18 minutes. Patients in the acupressure group received massage at the same points with the same technique but without valerian oil. Patients in the control group received massage at points that were 1-1.5 cm from the main points using the same technique and for the same length of time. The quality and quantity of the patients' sleep was measured by the St. Mary's Hospital Sleep Questionnaire (SMHSQ). After the intervention, there was a significant difference between sleep quality and sleep quantity in the patients in the valerian acupressure group and the acupressure group, compared to the control group (p < 0.05). Patients that received acupressure with valerian oil experienced improved sleep quality; however, this difference was not statistically significant in comparison to the acupressure only group. Acupressure at the ear spirit gate ( shén mén), hand Shenmen, glabella ( yìn táng), Wind Pool ( fēng chí), and Gushing Spring ( yǒng quán) acupoints can have therapeutic effects and may improve the quality and quantity of sleep in patients with ACS. Using these techniques in combination with herbal medicines such valerian oil can have a greater impact on improving sleep and reducing waking during the night.

Keywords: acupressure; acute coronary syndrome; cardiac intensive care unit; sleep quality; sleep quantity; valerian oil.