The People's Perspective on Medicine

Dried Kidney Bean Acupressure Cures Insomnia

Stack of kidney beans on white background close up.

Q. I would like to share an acupressure tip that helps me sleep. Tape a dried kidney bean to the inside of your right wrist. I locate this point between the two tendons by measuring the width of three fingers from the wrist crease.

This gives me around eight hours of very sound sleep. If I have to get up to go the bathroom I still go right back to sleep. This approach is cheap, safe and better than anything I have used in the past.

A. You are describing a traditional acupressure point called the “Inner Gate.” Pressing on this spot is reported to help reduce anxiety, slow the heart and promote sleep. A randomized study using sham acupressure points for control demonstrated that such techniques can be effective against insomnia.

Here is another reader’s reaction to this approach:

“I read in your column about an acupressure point on the inner arm to aid sleep. You suggested taping a kidney bean between the two tendons, 3 finger widths from the wrist.

“My husband and I tried it, and it’s been amazing! The tape proved uncomfortable on our skin, so we’re using plastic “marbles” (for arranging flowers in vases) instead of a kidney bean, and we secure it with an elastic band. It has improved our sleep tremendously, and we wanted to thank you.”

What an ingenious adaptation of the technique! Other readers have also reported good success with the kidney bean, but it does get tricky.

For those who would like a commercial alternative, there are elastic wristbands (Sea Bands) with a plastic button embedded. They are sold for nausea associated with pregnancy and motion sickness and can be adjusted to put pressure on the same acupuncture point.

You can learn more about acupressure and other natural approaches to counter insomnia in our Guide to Getting a Good Night’s Sleep.

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About the Author
Joe Graedon is a pharmacologist who has dedicated his career to making drug information understandable to consumers. His best-selling book, The People’s Pharmacy, was published in 1976 and led to a syndicated newspaper column, syndicated public radio show and web site. In 2006, Long Island University awarded him an honorary doctorate as “one of the country's leading drug experts for the consumer.” .
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Do you wear it on both wrists

I used to use the Sea Bands for sleep and it does work. The band has to be turned around so that the bead falls beside the bony part of the wrist.

This is all junk.
Tried it for a week.

Anyone know of an illustration showing exactly where to locate the bean? Between which 2 tendons?

ok, so two nights I have used the bands to sleep and I did well!! I did get up to pee, as I usually do, and was also able to fall back to sleep within 5-10 min. My mind isn’t racing with thoughts as I first go to bed or when i wake up to pee. The Sea Bands are great so far. Will post again in a few weeks if I remember.

I think it’s suppose to be BOTH wrists. :-)

I bet sea sickness bracelets would work too. They are the same concept, the “bean” in an elastic wrist band.
I currently take melatonin and zquil, but will try this method out and see how I fare.

VERY happy to learn about this for sleep and nauseousness. I got the bands at Walmart and used them for nauseousness and they seemed to work! When I am home alone sleeping I often take hours to fall asleep and sleep poorly… I will def try these Mon, Tues, Wed, & Thurs… fingers crossed!!!

This remedy is cheaper and much safer then sleeping pills. I use Melatonin, but it doesn’t work very well for some people. The acupressure point tip is well worth trying.

What is the tricky part of using the kidney bean on the acupuncture point on the wrist to help you sleep??

I would like to see the comments on this topic.

I don’t understand what you mean when you say “A randomized study using sham acupressure points for control demonstrated that such techniques can be effective against insomnia.” Is it the sham techniques that can be effective, or the kidney bean technique? Or both?

This sounds unbelievable; I am going to try it using paper tape.

Does it matter if you use the left or right wrist? How soon does it take to cause drowsiness?
Thank you.

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