Send to

Choose Destination
Dement Geriatr Cogn Disord. 2017;44(1-2):92-104. doi: 10.1159/000478739. Epub 2017 Jul 29.

A Randomized Controlled Trial Examining the Effect of Acupressure on Agitation and Salivary Cortisol in Nursing Home Residents with Dementia.

Author information

School of Nursing, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hong Kong, SAR, China.



Acupressure has been used to manage agitation in people with dementia because it is safe and inexpensive. However, its effect on agitation and at the biochemical level is uncertain.


This randomized controlled trial examined the effect of acupressure on agitation, as measured by the Cohen-Mansfield Agitation Inventory (CMAI); and on salivary cortisol, as measured at baseline (T0) and in the 3rd (T1), 5th (T2), and 8th (T3) weeks. There were 119 agitated residents with dementia randomized into 3 groups: acupressure (n = 39), sham (n = 41), and usual-care group (n = 39).


A downward trend in agitation over time was noted in the acupressure group, which almost reached a level of significance in interaction effects between groups and time points (p = 0.052). Post hoc pairwise tests in the acupressure group showed that acupressure significantly reduced agitation at T2 (mean difference -6.84, 95% CI -10.60, -3.08) compared to baseline. Significant interaction effects between groups and time points were observed on the level of salivary cortisol (p = 0.022).


Acupressure is a multicomponent intervention that can reduce agitation. Acupoint activation may not be a significant component in reducing agitation, although this result may have been limited by the inadequate sample size. Acupressure is effective in reducing salivary cortisol in people with dementia.


Acupressure; Agitation; Dementia; Nursing home; Salivary cortisol

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for S. Karger AG, Basel, Switzerland
Loading ...
Support Center