What is Acupressure?
Acupressure comes from Traditional Chinese Medicine and dates back thousands of years. Acupressure is a series of points throughout the body that coincide with the meridians, or channels in the body. The points are the same ones used for acupuncture, except instead of using needles, the hands are used to apply pressure.
The life force known as Qi flows through the twelve meridians of the body and illness occurs when the meridians are out of balance.
The goal of acupressure is to help bring Qi back into balance.
How can Acupressure help relieve stress?
Many times when people are experiencing stress, their Qi is not in balance. Qi is the essence of Traditional Chinese Medicine. It is the energy and life force that everything in the universe is made of, including our bodies. Meridians are the channels in our bodies through which our Qi flows along with blood and nutrients. When Qi flows freely through these meridians, ones body is healthy. However due to different circumstances, such as excess stress, these channels become clogged and blocked up. This leads to illness and unbalance. Therefore acupressure can help reduce stress by returning the Qi to a balanced state.
According to western science, it is unclear exactly how this phenomena works, however there have been many studies that do prove the benefits of acupressure, especially in relieving pain. Some studies suggest that putting pressure on these points releases endorphins which act as natural painkillers. According to TCM however, pressure on the acupoints actually helps to move blocked Qi in the channels, and healing occurs.
How do I use acupressure on myself?
Find the area by locating the specific point with your finger, then move your finger around the area until you sense the energy vortex, called the acupoint, beneath it. You then hold your finger on the point with medium to firm pressure for 15 to 60 seconds, while breathing into the point.
What points can I use to help relieve stress?
Kidney 1 :bubbling spring”
Located on the bottom of the foot between the first and second toe pads. It is used for bringing down excess energy and is beneficial for a person that is always in their head thinking too much, as well as insomnia related to stress. It can also help release pent up emotions.
Pericardium 8 “Labour place”
Located in the middle of the palm between the middle and ring finger is helpful in reducing headaches, digestive troubles, stomach pain and problems sleeping. It can also help with emotional balancing.
Pericardium 6 “Inner Gate”
Located three finger widths up from the center of your wrist crease. This acupressure point balances your feelings, perceptions, and inner awareness; it also balances and calms your internal condition.”
Gall Bladder 21 “shoulder well”
Located on the uppermost point of the shoulder close to the neck. Helps with uptightness, irritability, fatigue, shoulder tension, anxiety and headaches
Bladder 10 “Heavenly pillar”
Located just below the base of the head where it meets the neck slightly off the midline is used for neck tension and headaches
Governing Vessel 24 “third eye”
Located between the eyebrows is an excellent point for reducing tension headaches and fatigue. It calms the body and relieves anxiety and depression
Conception Vessel 22 “heaven rushing out”
Located in the center of the chest on the top of the sternum. This point helps relieve tightness in the chest often caused by anxiety and can allow for a better flow of air into the lungs. This point can have immediate calming effects during times of stress and anxiety and is a good point to end with.
These are several points that have excellent stress reducing abilities. There are many more for stress and any other troubles you are having both physical and emotional. Acupressure is a good tool for stress management because it can be used wherever you are in the moment when you need it most. Whether you are stuck in traffic, at work or laying in bed most of these points can be done subtly. Any points you use have an instant grounding effect and can bring you out of whatever situation you are in and back to your body.