Acupressure Techniques To Help Dementia Patients Fall Asleep And Maintain Sleep

In certain stages of our lives, there have been some who of us who have had real difficulties in sleeping at night. Whether it’s due to stress, drugs, hormones, or worries, not getting enough sleep can inflict various kinds of negativity on our bodies. Our ability to cope with life’s daily challenges can be impacted as well as our immune system which makes us more susceptible to illness and disease. Not getting enough sleep can also simply negatively affect our mood and/or make us gain weight.

For people suffering from dementia conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease, difficulty falling asleep or remaining asleep is quite a common experience. Those people tend to experience “sundowners” which means they become increasingly confused and agitated as their dementia symptoms get worse in the afternoon, late afternoon, or evening.

For caregivers tending to people with dementia, acupressure in Bellmore can be a safe, non-drug remedy that can help their patients sleep better. This therapeutic technique follows the same principles used in acupuncture and is a much preferred therapy because it is a hands implemented healing modality that does not use needles. Acupressure involves a gentle massage with the caregiver’s fingertips on a few specific areas on the patient’s forearm.

The pericardium 6 and the heart 7 acupuncture points are the two points that are the least intrusive and easiest to use to the patient. In Chinese medicine, they are respectively known as the “Inner Gate” and “Spirit Gate.” In Chinese medicine, the spirit associates with the mood of a patient and not to the spirit as seen in religion. These acupoints have been used for ages to assuage nervousness, soothe agitation, treat insomnia, and relieve anxiety.

Those two acupressure points can be maximally utilized when the patient is getting ready to go to sleep and is lying in bed. After getting the patient’s permission to touch him/her, take a sit next to them and put the patient’s forearm into your non-dominant hand while utilizing your dominant hand to massage the points.

The wrist’s underside is where you’ll find the pericardium 6 point. To locate this point go to the inner wrist’s center point, on the first crease where the wrist meets the hand, move up toward the crease of the inner elbow around three finger-widths. That’s where you’ll find the pericardium 6.

You can find the heart 7 acupoint on the first crease where the wrist meets the hand on the wrist’s underside. On the crease’s pinky side, there is a bony protuberance and the acupoint is just towards the middle of that bony protuberance. Your finger will land in what feels like a hole or a divot if you start at the inner wrist’s pinky side, and run your finger toward the wrist’s thumb side over the bony protuberance. That is the heart 7 acupoint.

Due to the location of these two points, use your thumb to massage them as it is more comfortable to use.

After locating each acupoint, gently massage one point a time and it doesn’t matter what point you massage first. Apply either a circular massaging movement or a steady pressure on the point. Try to avoid causing pain, although the patient will usually report a feeling that can be described as a strong pressure or “good hurt” but gentle sensation. Be particularly sensitive on how much pressure you apply when you use this technique on a patient with dementia. They may not be able to accurately describe whether you’re applying too much pressure or whether it hurts “good,” or they may not be entirely in touch with what you are doing. Massage slowly and add pressure to the massage as tolerated.

Hold gentle pressure on or massage each point for three to five minutes. Close the patient’s eyes and make them take a few deep slow breaths and allow them to relax.

For dementia and elderly patients, sleeping pills can be particularly vexatious and come with various side effects. One side effect is drowsiness that can come at the wrong time, which can raise the risk of falling and raise more problems for the patient in performing his or her activities of daily living and self-care.

This acupressure method is easy to do, safe, and works extremely well at assisting your dementia patient to sleep and maintain sleep for extended periods of time.

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