An article in the Journal of Clinical Nursing reported that acupressure was used to significantly reduce the level of agitation in dementia patients.
The research, conducted in Taiwan showed that twice daily 15 minute treatment sessions reduced verbal and physical attacks and wandering. Unfortunately once the 4 week treatment period ended agitation levels began to rise again.
For those of us with little experience of dementia, who might think Alzheimer suffers might be doddery old folks who wouldn’t hurt a fly the descriptions of their behaviour can be a little startling.
In week one, before the acupressure treatment began, physical attacks were given an average score of 5.53. These included pushing, beating, scratching and pinching.
Agitation levels were measured daily and by week two, when the treatment began, the physical attack score had fallen to 1.46. By week five, the last week of treatment, the score had fallen to 0.53. In week six, when the treatment had stopped, the figure rose to 2.17.
Verbal attacks, which included repeated questioning and shouting, showed a pre-treatment score of 2.81 in week one, 0.54 in week two and 0.29 in week five. By week six it had risen to 1.36.
Similar patterns were recorded for non-physical and non-verbal agitation, which included wandering, stealing, undressing and tearing things.
Wandering aimlessly was measured using pedometers. This reduced from an average of 5,368 steps a day in week one to 2,611 in week five. By week six it had risen again to 3,374.
Coincidentally I am giving a talk about EFT (which could be classified as a variant of acupressure) to two local Alzheimer support groups. When I was discussing the content of the talks the coordinator of the groups asked me if any work had been done using EFT with Alzheimer patients, I didn’t know of any at the time. This article leads me to think that it might be worth an experiment. I’m certainly going to mention it at the talk.
The full article discussing the findings can be found here: ScienceDaily: Regular Acupressure Can Significantly Reduce Agitated Behavior In Dementia