Effects of Acupressure on Sleep Quality and Psychological Distress in Nursing Home Residents: A Randomized Controlled Trial

I. Hui Chen, Tzu Pei Yeh, Yueh Chen Yeh, Mei Ju Chi, Mei Wen Chen, Kuei Ru Chou, Yin Yi Lien, Chih Fen Yuan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Objective: To compare the efficacy of acupressure with sham acupressure in older-adult nursing home residents presenting with poor sleep quality and psychological distress. Design: Prospective, randomized, double-blind, sham-controlled trial. Setting and participants: Sixty-two nursing home residents with poor sleep quality and psychological distress participated in this study. Participants were randomly assigned to an experimental group (n = 31) receiving acupressure at true acupoints (Baihui, Juque, Neiguan, Tianzhu, and Yongchung) or control group (n = 31) receiving acupressure at sham points. All participants received 20 minutes of acupressure before sleeping 3 times a week for 8 weeks. All participants were blinded to group allocation. Measures: Sleep quality and psychological distress were measured using the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index and the Kessler Psychological Distress scale, respectively. Both groups' outcomes were assessed by assessors blinded to group allocation at the baseline, the end of the intervention, and 1 month after the intervention. Results: The experimental group demonstrated significantly more improvement in sleep quality than did the control group at the end of the intervention (10.5 vs 13.3) and 1 month after the intervention (8.3 vs 14.2; both P ≤.001). Moreover, the experimental group had lower psychological distress levels than did the control group at 1 month after the intervention (14.6 vs 17.9, P =.05). Furthermore, significant differences in mean sleep quality (F = 60.8, P <.001) and psychological distress (F = 24.6, P <.001) were observed in the experimental group between the measurements at baseline and after the intervention. Conclusions: Acupressure at true acupoints improves sleep quality, reduces psychological distress, and provides more clinically beneficial effects compared with that at sham points. Future studies should examine whether these effects are maintained in the long term.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)822-829
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of the American Medical Directors Association
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Jul 1 2019



  • Alternative therapy
  • older adults
  • psychological distress
  • residential facilities
  • sleep quality

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nursing(all)
  • Health Policy
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology

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