Among adolescents with insomnia, the application of acupressure, using a device known as the Sea-Band®, resulted in significant improvements in sleep, according to recent research.
The study, “Acupressure therapy for insomnia in adolescents: a polysomnographic study,” involved 25 adolescents affected by insomnia. Twelve of the subjects were boys, and the mean age among study participants was about 15 years.
In order to gather baseline data, all subjects spent two consecutive nights in a sleep laboratory before the start of the acupressure intervention period. During these two nights, researchers used polysomnographic sleep recordings to assess a range of sleep patterns, such as sleep duration, wake after sleep onset, sleep efficiency, slow wave sleep representation and sleep latency, which is the time from lights out to sleep onset.
After gathering this baseline data for each participant, the acupressure intervention began. Subjects were instructed to wear Sea-Bands bilaterally at the HT-7 Shen Men point on both wrists from bedtime at 10 p.m. to wake time at 7 a.m. every night for six months.
“The Sea-Band is an elastic wristband with a 1-centimeter protruding round plastic button, and the device applies continual pressure to the HT-7 acupuncture point with the aim of decreasing or completely eliminating insomnia,” state the study’s authors. “The HT-7 point is located on the wrist, at the ulnar end of the transverse crease of the wrist, in the depression on the radial side of the flexor carpi ulnaris tendon.”
Following the six-month acupressure intervention period, the subjects then returned to the sleep clinic for two more consecutive nights. Again, polysomnographic sleep recordings were used to assess the same range of sleep patterns, to discover whether the use of the Sea-Band devices has resulted in any changes when compared to the baseline recordings.
Results of the research revealed that at the end of the six-month acupressure intervention, there were significant increases in sleep duration, sleep period time and total sleep time as compared with the baseline recordings. The data also showed a reduction in sleep onset latency and wake after sleep onset, as well as a significant increase in sleep efficiency and slow wave sleep representation.
“Acupressure could be considered a noninvasive, safe and effective method to treat insomnia with good compliance and no adverse effects,” state the study’s authors. “The strength of our findings lies in the use of gold standard polysomnograhy for assessment of sleep alterations in order to circumvent subjective reporting by patients.”
Authors: Marco Carotenuto, Beatrice Gallai, Lucia Parisi, Michele Roccella and Maria Esposito.
Sources: Sleep Clinic for Developmental Age, Clinic of Child and Adolescent Neuropsychiatry, Second University of Naples, Italy; Unit of Child and Adolescent Neuropsychiatry, University of Perugia, Italy; Child Neuropsychiatry, Department of Psychology, University of Palermo, Italy. Originally published in Neuropsychiatric Disease and Treatment, 2013, 9, 157-162.