Richard G. Petty, MD

Acupressure for Sleepiness

I’ve been using and teaching about the use of acupressure for boosting energy for a very long time. Since the early 1980s I’ve used pressure and tapping of some specific acupuncture points to give myself a quick jolt of energy. I’ve also had some success in helping patients with chronic fatigue by giving them some acupressure methods to use on a daily basis.

So I was very interested to see the publication of a small study involving 39 students in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine. The students were participating in three days of all-day lecture classes. They were taught to apply acupressure – either tapping or massaging – either five stimulating or five relaxing points. The students were not told the intended effects of the different points.

Acupressure stimulation points were:

1. The top of the head

2. The top of the back of the neck on both sides

3. On the back of the hands in between the thumb and forefinger

4. Just below both knees

5. On the bottom of the feet — at the center just below the balls of the feet

Acupressure relaxation points were:

1. Between the eyebrows

2. Just behind the earlobes

3. On the front of the wrists

4. On the lower legs above the ankles and toward the midline

5. On the top of the feet in between the large and second toes

The methods that the students were shown consisted of applying pressure to these points with light tapping of the fingers and massaging with the thumbs or forefingers.

The study was a cross-over design: Half of the students applied the stimulation acupressure regimen at lunchtime during the first day of class followed by two days on the relaxation regimen, and the other half followed the reverse schedule.

The results showed that students reported significantly less sleepiness and fatigue on the days they used the acupressure stimulation regimen. This is a fertile area for research. People have also claimed to be able to fatigue with both Thought Field Therapy (TFT) and Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT), and I’ve certainly found them to be useful on some occasions. The challenge now is to replicate this acupressure research and also to try out TFT and EFT in a similar study design.

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About Richard G. Petty, MD
Dr. Richard G. Petty, MD is a world-renowned authority on the brain, and his revolutionary work on human energy systems has been acclaimed around the globe. He is also an accredited specialist in internal and metabolic medicine, endocrinology, psychiatry, acupuncture and homeopathy. He has been an innovator and leader of the human potential movement for over thirty years and is also an active researcher, teacher, writer, professional speaker and broadcaster. He is the author of five books, including the groundbreaking and best selling CD series Healing, Meaning and Purpose. He has taught in over 45 countries and 48 states in the last ten years, but spends as much time as possible on his horse farm in Georgia.

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