ABSTRACT The use of relaxation techniques in daily life is an effective means for the self-management of stress. Acupressure is a traditional technique where pressure is applied to acupuncture points instead of puncturing the skin. Self-administered acupressure is a potential method for dealing with stress. The effect of self-administered acupressure on anxiety has been examined but whether it can reduce perceived stress over longer periods is unknown. This study aimed to examine whether a self-administered, four-week acupressure intervention would reduce perceived stress over the past month. Fifteen male and nine female college students (age, 28.9 ± 8.51 yr) majoring in acupuncture and moxibustion medicine were randomly assigned to self-acupressure (AG) and control groups (CG). AG participants were instructed to conduct five sessions of acupressure in the morning, midday, and night. Each session included pressing six acupressure points on the neck (three points on the left and right side each) for five seconds. CG participants were asked to spend their daily life as usual. The outcome was the perceived stress level during the past month, which was assessed using a reliable and valid four-item scale. Perceived stress was measured at baseline, two weeks later, and after intervention. The stress level did not significantly differ between the two groups at baseline. In the AG, the stress level decreased from baseline to two weeks later and remained constant until the end of intervention. The stress level was significantly lower in the AG than in the CG only after intervention. These results provided initial evidence that self-administered acupressure reduces perceived stress over the past month.
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