Acupressure for frail older people in community dwellings-a randomised controlled trial

Clara W.C. Chan, Pui Hing Chau, Yee Man Angela Leung, Kwai Ching Lo, Huafeng Shi, Tin Pui Yum, Yeuk Yiu Lee, Lei Li

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

21 Citations (Scopus)


Background: 'Frailty' is being increasing recognised as a geriatric syndrome of growing importance in the medical field. Acupressure is a non-pharmacological, non-invasive Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) treatment, which may serve to improve the quality of life (QOL) or prevent the progressive advancement of frailty in the aged population. Objective: to investigate the effects of a 12-week, TCM-principle guided acupressure intervention on the QOL of the frail older people living in the community. Methods: this is a randomised controlled trial with waitlist control design. Treatment group received 15 min of acupressure treatment, four times a week from both TCM practitioners and trained caregivers for 12 consecutive weeks. The waitlist control group served as a care-as-usual comparison to the treatment group for the 1st 12 weeks and then received the same treatment. Intention-to-treat principle was followed and mixed-effects models were used for data analysis. Results: the mean age of the participants was 76.12 ± 7.08, with a mean Tilburg frailty index score of 7.13 ± 1.76. Significant between-group differences were found in the change of physical domain score of WHOQOL-BREF (P = 0.001); change of Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index (P < 0.001) and pain intensity (P = 0.006) with the treatment group demonstrating greater improvement. Within-group effect size analysis also indicated that the acupressure protocol has significant impact on these areas. Conclusions: the study's outcomes indicated that the acupressure protocol, when applied continuously for 12 weeks, 3-4 times a week, could improve the general QOL of frail older people living in community dwellings.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)957-964
Number of pages8
JournalAge and Ageing
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2017


  • Acupressure
  • Frailty
  • Older people
  • Quality of life
  • Traditional Chinese medicine

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ageing
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology


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