Effectiveness of auricular therapy on sleep promotion in the elderly

Kwai Ping Lorna Suen, Thomas K.S. Wong, Albert W.N. Leung

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

47 Citations (Scopus)


Sleep disturbances are a particularly common problem in the elderly. The purpose of this study was to examine the effectiveness of auricular therapy on sleep behaviors in the elderly. One hundred and twenty participants of 60 years old or above and who were suffering from sleep disturbances were invited to participate in this study. Eligible participants were randomly allocated to receive auricular therapy using Junci Medulla (Group A = 30), Semen Vaccariae (Group B = 30) or magnetic pearls (Group C = 60). Groups A and B were the control groups, while Group C was the experimental group. Seven auricular points which are thought to have an effect on promoting sleep were selected. The total treatment course lasted for three weeks. Objective measurement using actigraphic monitoring was performed before the therapy commenced, in the middle period of the therapy, and within one week after the therapy had been completed. After the therapy, there were significant differences among the three groups in terms of the nocturnal sleep time (NST) (F2, 117, = 6.84, p < 0.05) and sleep efficiency (SE) (F2, 117, = 7-69, p < 0.05). Significant improvement in the sleep behaviors was observed in the experimental group using magnetic pearls. In a backward multiple regression, the effect of auricular therapy on SE after allowing for age in female participants is of high statistical significance (F3, 106, = 9.04, p < 0.001). The paper concludes that auricular therapy using magnetic pearls is an effective means of improving the quantity and quality of sleep in the elderly.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)429-449
Number of pages21
JournalAmerican Journal of Chinese Medicine
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2002


  • Auricular therapy
  • Elderly
  • Insomnia
  • Magnetotherapy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Complementary and alternative medicine


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