Acupressure Improves Sleep Among Menopausal Women

To complement the Research Reports in the October 2015 issue of MASSAGE Magazine. Summary: In a recent study, self-administered acupressure significantly improved sleep quality among menopausal women experiencing sleep difficulties.


The consistent use of acupressure, applied at home as a self-care technique, resulted in a significant improvement in sleep quality among menopausal women, according to recent research.

The study, “The effect of acupressure on sleep quality in menopausal women: a randomized control trial,” involved 120 menopausal women ranging in age from 41 to 65, with a score higher than five on the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index.

The women were randomly assigned to either the acupressure group, the sham acupressure group or the control group. Those in the acupressure and sham acupressure groups were trained to use circular massage covering about one centimeter in diameter on specified points with about three to four kilograms of pressure. The women in the control group had a health-based conversation once a week.


Acupressure techniques assigned

Subjects in the acupressure and sham acupressure groups were asked to perform the techniques at home for 10 minutes two hours before going to sleep. They were instructed to do so every night except Fridays for four weeks in a row.

According to the researchers, women in the acupressure group were trained to massage four acupoints: Shenmen on the wrist crease; Sanyinjiao point (SP6) on both feet; Fengchi on the hairline at the back of the neck (occipital area); and Yintang at the top of the nose on the centerline between the eyebrows. Women in the sham acupressure group were instructed to massage four sham acupoints.


The results

The main outcome measure for this study was sleep quality, as measured by the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index. Results of the research showed a significant improvement in sleep quality among the women in both the acupressure group and the sham acupressure group as compared to the control group. However, the improvement in sleep quality was much greater among women in the acupressure group as compared to the sham acupressure group.

“The total improvement of [Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index score] in comparison to baseline was 41 percent in the acupressure group and 17 percent in the sham acupressure group,” stated the study’s authors.

The researchers concluded that acupressure is effective when it comes to improving sleep quality among menopausal women.


About the Authors

Authors: Zahra Abedian, Leila Eskandari, Hamid Abdi and Saeed Ebrahimzadeh.

Sources: Evidence-Based Care Research Centre, Department of Midwifery, School of Nursing and Midwifery, Sheikh Hospital, Mashhad University of Medical Sciences, Mashhad, Iran; Health Center, Semnan University of Medical Science, Semnan, Iran. Originally published in the July 2015 issue of the Iranian Journal of Medical Sciences, 40(4), 328-334.