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Effects of acupressure at the P6 and LI4 points on the anxiety level of soldiers in the Iranian military

Abstract

Introduction Military service is a stressful environment. Methods to reduce stress may result in the mental health promotion of military forces. There are various methods for relieving anxiety. Acupressure is one of them. Hence, this study was carried out to explore effects of acupressure at the P6 and LI4 acupressure points on the anxiety level of army soldiers.

Methods A randomised double-blind design was undertaken. A total of 120 Iranian army soldiers were randomly assigned to three groups, namely P6, LI4 and control. The P6 and LI4 acupressure points are effective in lowering the anxiety level. In the intervention groups, acupressure was applied at the P6 and LI4 points three times for 10 min at 30 min intervals. In the control group, the thumb pad, which is not an acupressure point, was pressed. The anxiety level of the subjects was measured before the intervention and 30 min after the last intervention. The instruments included a demographics questionnaire and the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory.

Results There was no significant difference between the three groups with respect to the anxiety level in the preintervention phase. However, the mean anxiety score in the P6 group decreased significantly from 53.35±9.7 to 49.02±9.3 (p=0.005). The mean anxiety score in the LI4 group also decreased significantly from 53.37±8.39 to 45.47±8.16 (p<0.001). In the control group, there was no significant difference between the preintervention and postintervention phases (p=0.16). In the postintervention phase, the analysis of variance test showed a significant difference between the three groups in terms of the anxiety level (p=0.04).

Conclusions Acupressure can reduce soldiers’ anxiety at the acupressure points, especially at the LI4 point. It is recommended that this simple and cost-effective intervention be used to relieve soldiers’ anxiety in stressful situations.

Trial registration number 20150715023216N4.

  • Acupressure
  • Anxiety
  • Military Personnel
  • Complementary Therapies

Data availability statement

All data relevant to the study are included in the article or uploaded as supplementary information.

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