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J Altern Complement Med. 2005 Aug;11(4):673-9.

Using acupressure to modify alertness in the classroom: a single-blinded, randomized, cross-over trial.

Author information

  • 1Department of Internal Medicine, Division of Rheumatology, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI 48106, USA. reharris@med.umich.edu

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Previous reports have suggested that acupressure is effective in reducing pain and improving sleep quality; however, its effects on alertness have not been characterized.

OBJECTIVES:

The aim of this study was to determine whether two different acupressure treatments have opposing effects on alertness in a full-day classroom setting.

DESIGN:

This was a cross-over (two-treatments; three periods), single-blinded, randomized trial.

SETTING:

The University of Michigan School of Public Health was the setting.

SUBJECTS:

Students attending a course in clinical research design and statistical analysis at the University of Michigan participated in the study.

INTERVENTIONS AND OUTCOME MEASURES:

Blinded subjects were randomized to two acupressure treatment sequences: stimulation-relaxation-relaxation or relaxation-stimulation-stimulation. Acupressure treatments were self administered over 3 consecutive days. Pre- and post-treatment alertness scores were assessed each day using the Stanford Sleepiness Scale (SSS). Changes in the SSS score (afternoon-morning) were analyzed using a mixed regression model of fixed and random effects. Important factors that were expected to affect alertness, such as caffeine and previous night's sleep, were also assessed.

RESULTS:

Baseline characteristics and protocol compliance were similar between the two sequences. Stimulation acupressure treatment yielded a 0.56-point greater difference in score on the SSS, corresponding to less fatigue, compared to the relaxation acupressure treatment (p = 0.019). Day of study (p = 0.004) and hours of overnight sleep (p = 0.042) also significantly affected the change in SSS scores. Incorporating participants' beliefs as to which treatment they received did not significantly alter the observed treatment effect.

CONCLUSIONS:

Acupressure at stimulation and relaxation points has differential effects on alertness in a classroom setting. Further research is necessary to confirm these findings and to determine whether stimulation and relaxation acupressure are equally effective in influencing alertness.

PMID:
16131291
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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