Preprint Review Version 1 Preserved in Portico This version is not peer-reviewed

Acupressure and Dementia - A Review of Current Evidence

Version 1 : Received: 27 August 2021 / Approved: 30 August 2021 / Online: 30 August 2021 (08:14:23 CEST)

A peer-reviewed article of this Preprint also exists.

Pak, S., & Ooi, S. L. (2023). Acupressure and dementia: a review of current evidence. Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine, 29(7), 18-29. Pak, S., & Ooi, S. L. (2023). Acupressure and dementia: a review of current evidence. Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine, 29(7), 18-29.


Introduction: Dementia is a cognitive decline with patients often exhibit behavioural and psychological symptoms, severely affecting the quality of life and placing a heavy burden on caregivers. Acupressure has reported benefits for dementia. This study aims to critically review the available evidence for its use as a non-pharmacological therapy. Methods: Systematic search of major research databases for human clinical trials using acupressure as an intervention for dementia patients was conducted. Results were synthesised for the effects of acupressure on various outcome measures of interest for dementia.Results: Twelve clinical trials (N=973), including eight randomised control studies, were included in this review. The study sample was predominantly institutionalised residents with moderate to severe dementia. Baihui (GV20), Shenmen (HT7), Fengchi (GB20), Neiguan (PC6), Sanyinjiao (SP6), and Yingtang (EX-HN3) were the most used acupoints for intervention. Acupressure techniques employed in these clinical trials vary greatly with no standardised approach. This review finds inconsistent evidence in the effectiveness of acupressure in reducing agitation and behavioural disturbances. However, the treatment appears to improve their ease of care and reduce physical stress. Affixing acupressure devices on selected acupoints can also potentially improve psychiatric pain, anxiety, and depression. Long-term (6 months) treatment can potentially improve the cognitive function, activities of daily living, and quality of life of patients with mild to moderate dementia. The effect of acupressure on sleep disturbances remains unclear. Conclusion: More high-quality research on acupressure is needed to fill the gaps in knowledge and inform better care for dementia patients in the future.


Acutherapy; geriatric therapy; Alzheimer's disease; sensory stimulation; evidence-based practice.


Public Health and Healthcare, Nursing

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