Acupressure, Sleep, and Quality of Life in Institutionalized Older Adults: A Randomized Controlled Trial

Fu Chih Lai, I. Hui Chen, Pao Ju Chen, I. Ju Chen, Hui Wen Chien, Chih Fen Yuan

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Objectives: Nursing home (NH) residents suffer from sleep disturbances which are associated with a low quality of life (QoL). The purpose of this study was to explore the effectiveness of comparing acupressure on specific acupoints with acupressure on non-specific acupoints in older NH residents with sleep disturbances. Design: A randomized control trial with a pre- and post-test design. Setting: One NH in Taiwan. Participants: Sixty-two older NH residents were randomly assigned to an experimental group (n = 31) and a sham-controlled group (n = 31). Intervention: The experimental group received acupressure on the Tian-Zhu, Ju-Que, Yong-Quan, Bai-Hui, and Nei-Guan acupoints three times a week for 8 weeks, for 24 minutes each time, while the control group received a massage at locations with no acupoints, which were 10 mm from the true points, at the same frequency as the experimental group. Measurements: The primary outcome was measured using the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index (PSQI) and the secondary outcome was measured using the Short-form 36 (SF-36). Data were collected at baseline, the end of treatment, and 4 weeks after completion of treatment. Results: Compared to the control group, the experimental group had significantly better scores on the PSQI (t = -7.72, P < 0.001) and SF-36 (t = 1.34, P < 0.001) during the intervention period. The improvements in the PSQI and SF-36 scores were still significant (P < 0.001) after adjusting for confounding variables by generalized estimating equations. Conclusions: Results suggest that acupressure on the Tian-Zhu, Ju-Que, Yong-Quan, Bai-Hui, and Nei-Guan acupoints can improve the quality of sleep and life among NH residents. Acupressure is a promising intervention that may improve well-being for NH residents with sleep disturbances.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)e103-e108
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of the American Geriatrics Society
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - May 2017



  • Acupressure
  • Complementary therapies
  • Sleep disturbances

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geriatrics and Gerontology

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