To complement the Research Reports in the May 2016 issue of MASSAGE Magazine.
Among women with high stress levels, a 10-minute head meridian acupoint massage reduced stress and increased relaxation, as evidenced by enhanced activity of the parasympathetic nervous system, according to recent research.
The study, “Principle study of head meridian acupoint massage to stress release via grey data model analysis,” involved 45 women with long-term work stress or high scores on the physiological stress index. These subjects ranged in age from 25 to 55 years, with an average age of 40.
All women in the study were assigned to receive one 10-minute head meridian acupoint massage per week for four weeks. A standard protocol for the head meridian acupoint massage was used in this study. The protocol focused on five points on the head and shoulders that “belong to the extra channel, Du meridian, urinary bladder meridian and gall bladder meridian, respectively,” stated the study’s authors. These points are EX-HN5 (Taiyang), UB10 (Tianzhu), Du16 (Fengfu), GB20 (Fengqi) and GB21 (Jianjing).
According to the authors, the grey data method of statistical analysis was used to find the relationship between the head meridian acupoint massage and the physiological factors of heart-rate variability, including total power, very low frequency power, low frequency power, high frequency power and the low frequency-high frequency ratio.
The researchers reported that these aspects of heart-rate variability reflect the status of the autonomic nervous system and are “related to emotion and stress of subjects.” In this study, the heart-rate variability of the participants was observed before and after each head meridian acupoint massage throughout the four-week intervention period.
Acupoint Massage Benefits
Results of the study revealed that head meridian acupoint massage benefits the autonomic nervous system, enhancing parasympathetic activity. In fact, the high-frequency component of heart rate, which is related to relaxation and the parasympathetic nervous system, was greater among the study’s subjects following the head massage. In contrast, the low-frequency component of heart rate, which is related to stress and the sympathetic nervous system, was higher among the study’s subjects prior to the 10-minute massage.
“The head massage has significant benefits to the autonomic nervous system function,” stated the authors. “The physiological stress is relaxed and the activity of sympathetic and parasympathetic nerves is regulated to more balance.”
About the Study
Author: Ya-Ting Lee
Sources: Department of Beauty Science, National Taichung University of Science and Technology, Taiwan. Originally published online in 2016 in Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine.