Stressed out? Anxious? Trouble sleeping? An ancient remedy developed in China may be the life hack you need to succeed.
Acupressure is an ancient healing technique used for thousands of years to treat physical, mental, and emotional imbalances of ch’i (life force) which travels along connected lines within the body, called meridians.
When something such as an injury or emotional trauma blocks the flow of ch’i, physical and emotional imbalances begin to build up inside us. Stress from daily life is a major source of internal energy blockages.
Such fixed, negative energies can produce all sorts of unhealthy symptoms. The solution is to release negative ch’i and restore the flow of positive ch’i by stimulating acupoints which lie along the meridians.
There are over 350 distinct acupoints in the adult human body. Many are shared between the sexes but some are specific to one or the other gender – notably, those due to biological differences between their reproductive systems.
Unlike the sister practice of acupuncture, acupressure invokes relaxation, pain relief, and allows the body to heal inflammatory conditions without any needling. Stimulating these points is as easy as pressing firmly with a finger in a circular motion or an up-and-down movement for several minutes at a time.
Regular acupressure sessions can dramatically improve your health and well-being. Chinese medicine, which describes acupoints in detail, explains how vitality in the human body is holistic. No part stands alone:
“All of the body’s organs lie along one of the 12 major meridians, creating an interlinked neurological signaling system that connects the entire body. All meridians begin at the fingertips, connect to your brain, and then connect to an organ associated with a certain meridian.”
Anxiety is a normal response to stressors we face daily. Left untreated and unresolved, you might experience one or more of the following symptoms:
- Feelings of panic, fear, or worry
- Difficulty concentrating
- Difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep
- Nausea, headaches or digestive concerns
- Feeling a lack of control
- Muscle tension
Fortunately, we can literally reach out and touch someone to envigorate their pressure points – or do it for ourselves, for some acupoints. You can perform acupressure massaging as often as you like every day but never dwell on a spot that becomes extremely painful to the touch.
It’s always helpful to take a few deep breaths and calm the mind before receiving acupressure. Then, try activating the following ten acupoints and see if steady, deep, firm pressure applied for one to two minutes helps free up your ch’i:
- Hall of Impression. This acupressure point is situated between the eyebrows. Applying pressure to this point helps ease both anxiety and stress.
- Great Rushing. Find this point in the webbing between the first (big) and second toes. Applying pressure on this point helps unblock choked meridians and keeps energy flowing smoothly through the meridians.
- Central Treasury. Measure two finger-widths above the point where the arms meet your chest to locate this pressure point which, when stimulated, aids in deep breathing, increases blood flow, and balances the emotions.
- Heavenly Gate. This acupoint lies in the upper shell of the ear, at the tip of the triangular hollow there. Get relief from anxiety, stress, and insomnia by applying pressure to stimulate this pressure point.
- Grandfather-Grandson. This point is located at the side of the inside of the foot, three finger-widths behind the base of the big toe. Pressing this point relieves ankle pains, facilitates general nourishment, and balances energy circulation throughout both body and mind, reducing worries and anxiety.
- Three Mile Point. Measure two finger-widths below the knee cap and four finger widths towards the outside region of the leg to find this acupoint. Applying pressure here raises and regulates the flow of ch’i, relieves fatigue, and improves concentration.
- Inner Gate. This point lies along the straight line between your palm (between the index and middle fingers) and the center of your arm, and is found three finger widths above the wrist crease. Apply pressure on this point to ease excess stress on the heart, promote deep breathing, and ease nausea.
- Outer Gate. Measure three finger widths above the wrist on the back of the arm, between the two tendons, to locate this acupoint which, when stimulated, supports the immune system and increases energy flow throughout the body.
- Shoulder Well. This point is located on the shoulder ridge halfway between its point and the base of the neck. Pressing this point helps relieve stress and tension and unblocks the flow of energy. Pregnant women should know that stimulation here can also trigger labor so be careful.
- Union Valley. Find this acupoint in the webbing between the thumb and index finger. Apply pressure here to reduce stress, headaches, and neck pain. Just as with the Shoulder Well acupoint, stimulating the Union Valley acupoint can also induce labor in expectant mothers.
If acupressure treatments don’t do enough to relieve stress and anxiety, consult with a healthcare professional if your symptoms worsen to include:
- Feelings of depression
- Suicidal thoughts
- Panic attacks
- Difficulty sleeping
- Digestive problems
Remember, acupressure is a way to transmit a signal to the body to activate its self-healing or regulatory mechanisms to treat effectively pain and diseases. Regular practice can help keep your body, mind, emotions, and spirit uplifted and going with the flow despite the stresses of everyday life.