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Ear therapy and massage therapy in the elderly with dementia: a pilot study


Rodríguez-Mansilla, Juan, González-López-Arza, María Victoria, Varela-Donoso, Enrique, Montanero-Fernández, Jesús, Jiménez-Palomares, María, Garrido-Ardila, Elisa Maria


Journal Of Traditional Chinese Medicine = Chung I Tsa Chih Ying Wen Pan / Sponsored By All-China Association Of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Academy Of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Volume: 33, No.: 4, Pages.: 461-467

Year of Publication



Objective: To assess the impact of massage versus ear acupuncture on behavior and participation in occupational therapy of dementia patients.; Methods: We performed a controlled, randomized longitudinal trial approved by the Bioethics Commission of the University of Extremadura. One hundred twenty elderly subjects with dementia institutionalized in residential homes in Extremadura (Spain) received treatment based on massage and ear acupuncture over three months. Behavior alterations, sleep disturbance, and participation in rehabilitation and eating were assessed every month during the three months of intervention, and at one and two months of follow-up after the end of treatment. The assessment was performed through a structured questionnaire with closed format questions done by an occupational therapist not involved in the study.; Results: There was a statistically significant positive effect of massage and ear acupuncture (P < 0.001) on measured variables in the third month of intervention, which were maintained at two months after completing the treatment (P < 0.021), when compared to the control group.; Conclusion: Massage therapy and ear acupuncture can improve behavior and sleep disturbances, and increase the participation in eating and rehabilitation organized in residential homes, in dementia patients.;


acupuncture, acupuncture ear, aged, aged, 80 and over, behavior, dementia, ear, female, humans, male, massage, physiopathology, pilot projects, psychology, sleep, therapy, treatment outcome

Countries of Study


Types of Dementia

Dementia (general / unspecified)

Types of Study

Randomised Controlled Trial

Type of Outcomes

ADLs/IADLs, Behaviour


Long Term Residential Care without medically trained staff

Type of Interventions

Non-pharmacological Treatment

Non-Pharmaceutical Interventions

Complementary therapies