Stay Alert

By HSC Staff Writer • Published: January 24th, 2006
Category: Health in a Heartbeat

Desk jockeys! Listen up. Sitting all day can make even the most dedicated student or professional sleepy. For the drowsy, here’s the good news… a quick pick-me-up may be right at your fingertips.

Study findings reveal that briefly tapping or massaging certain acupressure points on the head, hands, knees and feet can increase alertness and help shake off the afternoon blahs.

University of Michigan researchers found that thirty-six students attending all-day lecture classes who practiced a regimen of self-acupressure focused on certain stimulation pressure points were less sleepy than those who applied the same technique to acupressure relaxation points.

The students were separated into two groups. One applied the stimulation acupressure at lunchtime during the first day of class, followed by two days of the relaxation regimen. The other group followed the reverse schedule. Their routine entailed applying pressure to these points with light tapping of the fingers and massaging with the thumbs or forefingers.

The stimulation points are located atop the head, at the base of the skull, between the thumb and forefinger, just below the kneecap and just below the ball of the foot.

At the end of the three days, students reported significantly less sleepiness and fatigue on the days they used the acupressure stimulation regimen.

Additional studies should reveal whether the stimulation regimen improves an individual’s performance.

So when concentration is waning, and an afternoon siesta isn’t on the agenda, try letting your fingers do the tapping for a more alert afternoon.