There are many people, in many different phases of our lives which have had trouble sleeping at night. Whether due to anxieties, hormones, medications, or stress, not getting enough sleep can wreak havoc on our bodies. Our immune system can be affected, it may cause us to gain weight, and it could just plain and simply negatively influence our disposition and ability to adapt to life’s daily struggles.
It’s extremely common in men with Alzheimer’s or other forms of Dementia, to have difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep. These individuals can have “sundowners” which means that later in the evening or day they get agitated and increasingly confused as their Dementia symptoms worsen. Acupressure is a safe, non-drug modality that we, as caregivers for those who have Dementia, can use to assist our patients sleep better.
Using similar principles to Acupuncture, Acupressure is more easily accepted because it’s a practical technique that doesn’t use needles. The caregiver can use their fingertips to gently massage a couple of specific places on the forearm of the patient. The two points which are easiest to use and least intrusive to the individual are He 7 and Per 6, that can be known as”Spirit Gate” and”Inner Gate” in Chinese Medicine. These points are proven to relieve anxiety, treat sleeplessness, and calm agitation and anxiety.
These Acupressure points are best treated when the individual is lying in bed getting ready to go to sleep. After you receive the permission of the individual to touch themsit down next to them and take their forearm into your non-dominant hand whilst using the dominant hand to massage the points. He 7 is located on the bottom of the wrist on the first crease where the hand meets the wrist. There’s a bony protuberance in the pinky side of the crease and the stage is simply medial (towards the centre ) to that bony protuberance.
If you begin at the outside (pinky side) of the inner wrist, and run your finger over that bony protuberance (toward the thumb side of the wrist), your finger will probably land in what feels like a divot or a pit. Per 6 is located on the bottom of the wrist too. If you find the middle point of the wrist, on that very first crease where the hand meets the wrist, then move up (toward the inner elbow crease) about 3 finger widths. That’s the point. There are little joints there and also the point is simply between the two tendons which you can see and feel.
Due to the location of those 2 points, it’s more comfortable to use your thumb to massage the stage, while your other fingers are on the other side of the wrist, assisting you to apply the pressure. After you find each stage, gently massage each one (one at a time and it doesn’t matter which one you massage ) using either a continuous pressure or you may use a circular massaging motion remaining on the point. You don’t need to cause pain, but usually the individual will report a form of sensation which could be described as a gentle, “good hurt”, or a powerful pressure sensation.
When using this technique on a Dementia individual, it’ll be especially important to be sensitive about how much pressure you’re applying. They might be unable to be entirely connected with what you’re doing, and might be unable to correctly describe if it hurts “great,” or is too much pressure. Proceed and increase the thickness of the pressure as tolerated. Massage or maintain the gentle pressure on every stage for 3-5 minutes.
Encourage the person to have a few slow deep breaths and close their eyes and relax. Sleep medications aren’t without side effects and may be especially troublesome for older patients and patients with Dementia. They can lead to nausea in the wrong time, which may increase the probability of falling and contribute to difficulty in doing self-care and activities of daily living.