Validity of the Neck Meridian Test as a Measure of Stress


The neck meridian test is a procedure in which the participant is requested to stretch the neck in four directions and rate the intensity of pain felt and/or symptoms. The total score of the four responses has been shown to correlate with the level of perceived stress, and it has been suggested that it may be possible to use this test as a measure of perceived stress. The purpose of this study was to examine the effect of experimentally induced stress on the neck meridian test score. It was predicted that the neck meridian test score would increase only in participants who were exposed to stress manipulation. The participants were 19 male and 9 female college students (age, 34.1 ± 9.37 years) majoring in acupuncture and moxibustion medicine. The participants were randomly assigned to a stress group and a control group. All participants were requested to rest for 3 min and then complete the neck meridian test. Subsequently, they were administered a stress questionnaire. The participants in the stress group were instructed to prepare mentally for 3 min for a small 1-min examination that included performance in front of a judge, while those in the control group were requested to rest for additional 3 min. After each period, the participants completed the neck meridian test and were administered a stress questionnaire. The stress score increased significantly only in the stress group, indicating that the experimental protocol was a valid means of inducing a stressed state. The neck meridian test score also increased only in the stress group, providing supporting evidence that the neck meridian test is a valid tool for assessing perceived stress. It is suggested that the test could be used in future studies applying techniques of acupuncture and moxibustion medicine to stress care.

Share and Cite:

Y. Honda, A. Tsuda and S. Horiuchi, "Validity of the Neck Meridian Test as a Measure of Stress," Open Journal of Medical Psychology, Vol. 1 No. 4, 2012, pp. 81-85. doi: 10.4236/ojmp.2012.14013.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


[1] M. S. Kopp, á. Skrabski, A. Székely, A. Stauder and R. Williams, “Chronic Stress and Social Changes, Socioeconomic Determination of Chronic Stress,” Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, Vol. 1113, 2007, pp. 325-338. doi:10.1196/annals.1391.006
[2] K. Arabia, I. Abdelrahim and I. Humaida, “Relationship between Stress and Psychosomatic Complaints among Nurses in Tabarjal Hospital,” Open Journal of Medical Psychology, Vol. 1 No. 3, 2012, pp. 15-19. doi:10.4236/ojmp.2012.13003
[3] N. B. Anderson, K. C. Nordal, S. J. Breckler, D. Ballard, L. Bufka, L. Bossolo, et al., “Stress in America Findings,” American Psychological Association, 2010.
[4] European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions, “Fourth European Working Conditions Survey,” Office for Official Publications of the European Communities, Luxembourg, 2007.
[5] S. Horiuchi, A. Tsuda, E. Kim, K.-S. Hong, Y.-S. Park and U. Kim, “Relationships between Stage of Change for Stress Management Behavior and Perceived Stress and Coping,” Japanese Psychological Research, Vol. 52, No. 4, 2010, pp. 291-297. doi:10.1111/j.1468-5884.2010.00444.x
[6] S. Horiuchi, A. Tsuda, H. Kobayashi and J. M. Prochaska, “The Reliability and Validity of the Japanese Version of Pro-Change’s Decisional Balance Measure for Effective Stress Management (PDSM),” Japanese Psychological Research, Vol. 54, No. 2, 2012, pp. 128-136. doi:10.1111/j.1468-5884.2011.00490.x
[7] T. Yano, N. Ishizaki and K. Kawakita, “Survey on the Acupuncture and Moxibustion Therapy-Focused on the Patients’ Behavior,” Annual Report of the Foundation for Training and Licensure Examination in Anma-Massage-Acupressure, Acupuncture and Moxibustion, 2005.
[8] F. Fukuda, “The Stress Management and Acupuncture and Moxibustin Medicine,” Japanese Journal of Stress Science, Vol. 23, No. 1, 2008, pp. 82-94.
[9] N. Robinson, A. Lorenc and X. Liao, BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine, Vol. 11, 2011.
[10] Y. Honda, A. Tsuda and S. Horiuchi, “Relationships between Positive Responses Associated with M-Test and Perceived Stress,” Oriental Medicine and Pain Clinic, Vol. 42, No. 1-2, 2012, pp. 17-25.
[11] Y. Honda, A. Tsuda and S. Horiuchi, “The Neck Meridian Test as an Assessment Tool of Perceived Stress,” Oriental Medicine and Pain Clinic, in Press.
[12] Y. Mukaino, “Sports Acupuncture: The Meridian Test and Its Application,” East Land Press, Seattle, 2008.
[13] G. Matthews, D. M. Jones and A. G. Chamberlain, “Refining the Measurement of Mood: The UWIST Mood Adjective Checklist,” British Journal of Psychology, Vol. 81, No. 1, 1990, pp. 17-42. doi:10.1111/j.2044-8295.1990.tb02343.x
[14] H. Okamura, A. Tsuda, J. Yajima, H. Mark, S. Horiuchi, N. Toyoshima and T. Matsuishi, “Short Sleeping Time and Psychobiological Responses to Acute Stress,” International Journal of Psychophysiology, Vol. 78, No. 3, 2010, pp. 209-214. doi:10.1016/j.ijpsycho.2010.07.010
[15] S. Horiuchi, A. Tsuda, H. Okamura, J. Yajima and A. Stepoe, “Differential Elicitation of the Salivary 3-Methoxy-4-Hydroxyphenylglycol (MHPG) Responses by Mental Stress Testing,” Japanese Journal of Behavioral Medicine, Vol. 16, No. 1, 2010, pp. 31-38.
[16] Y. Honda, A. Tsuda and S. Horiuchi, “Effect of a Four-Week Self-Administered Acupressure Intervention on Perceived Stress over the Past Month,” Open Journal of Medical Psychology, Vol. 1 No. 3, 2012, pp. 20-24. doi:10.4236/ojmp.2012.13004
[17] S. Horiuchi, A. Tsuda, Y. Tanaka, J. Yajima and S. Tsuda, “Development of the Japanese Version of the Rhode Island Stress and Coping Inventory: Examination of Reliability and Validity,” Behavioral Science Research, Vol. 47, No. 1, 2008, pp. 37-46.
[18] S. Cohen, R. C. Kessler and U. L. Gordon, “Measuring Stress: A Guide for Health and Social Scientists,” Oxford Press, New York, 1995.
[19] S. H. Lovibond and P. F. Lovibond, “Manual for the Depression Anxiety Stress Scales,” 2nd Edition, Psychology Foundation, Sydney.

Copyright © 2023 by authors and Scientific Research Publishing Inc.

Creative Commons License

This work and the related PDF file are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.