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Researchers at the University of...

Posted Sep 11 2008 7:06pm

Researchers at the University of Michigan Health System have found that acupressure keeps students awake during class and reduces sleepiness. Students attending all-day lecture classes who practiced a regimen of acupressure focused on stimulation points were less sleepy than those who applied the same technique on acupressure relaxation points on their legs, hands, feet, and heads. The report appears in a recent issue of the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine.

“Our finding suggests that acupressure can change alertness in people who are in classroom settings for a full day—which could be very good news for students who have trouble staying alert at school,” says researcher Richard E. Harris, PhD, of the University of Michigan Health System’s Chronic Pain and Fatigue Research Center. The 39 students who participated in the study were in a University of Michigan clinical research design course that included three days of all-day lecture classes.

Students were taught how to self-apply acupressure regimens on either five stimulatory points or five relaxation points. The regimens consisted of light tapping with the fingers and massaging with thumbs or forefingers. The class was divided into two groups. One group of students applied acupressure to stimulation points on the first day, followed by relaxation points on days two and three. The other group applied acupressure to relaxation points on day one, followed by stimulation points for days two and three.

“The study showed that a stimulation acupressure regimen leads to a statistically significant reduction in sleepiness compared to an acupressure treatment that focuses on relaxation,” says Harris. “The idea that acupressure can have effects on human alertness needs more study, including research that can examine the scope of influence acupressure can have on alertness and fatigue. Ideally, research in the future will help us determine whether acupressure also can have an impact on performance in the classroom as well.” Previous acupressure studies have not characterized its effects on alertness. For information about Traditional Chinese Medicine for health maintenance and well being call Dr. Richard Browne at (305) 595-9500.

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