While a nice cup of herbal tea is great for stress relief, there are plenty of other wellness rituals you might consider adding to your routine. If you’re feeling a little more stressed these days, you might appreciate acupressure. Acupressure is an essential part of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) as a method of treating a wide range of conditions. Generally, acupressure is used to treat stress, boost immunity, and relieve pain, but today we’re going to dive into our five favorite self-acupressure points for stress reduction.
WHAT IS ACUPRESSION?
According to the Department of Integrative Medicine at UCLA, “Acupressure is essentially a method of sending a signal to the body (through a needle or other means) to ‘turn on’ its own self-help mechanisms. healing or regulation”. In TCM, acupressure helps improve the circulation of your qi, or source of vital energy. It does this by applying pressure to certain points along your body’s meridians, which are channels through which your qi flows.
Both acupressure and acupuncture are ways to boost your qi, but they are slightly different. Acupuncture involves the insertion of needles into specific meridian points by a licensed acupuncturist. Instead, acupressure uses firm pressure to massage these points. While both of these wellness practices are effective, acupuncture will activate your body’s innate healing ability better than acupressure. Indeed, the needles used in acupuncture are able to locate the exact meridian point.
5 ACUPRESSURE POINTS TO REDUCE STRESS.
CONCEPTUAL VESSEL 17 (REN 17) OR “CENTER OF CHEST”.
As you may have guessed, the “center of the chest”. But you can find the exact point by standing halfway between your nipples.
FOR WHAT ?
If you are stressed due to emotional distress, this acupressure point is for you. Stimulating this point will help relax and open your chest, which is essential for the flow of qi. This point is also great for anyone who experiences shortness of breath or chest tightness when stressed or anxious.
21 GALLBLADDER OR “SHOULDER PIT.”
Your “shoulder well” is located at the highest point of your shoulders.
FOR WHAT ?
This point helps release any stress or tension in the upper body. It also helps release anger. Do NOT use this stitch during pregnancy as it may induce labour.
LIVER 3 OR “GREAT SURGE”.
To find your “Great Surge” point, simply find the point between your first and second toes, then move down about an inch.
FOR WHAT ?
This point is not called “Great Surge” for nothing. This point is one of the best for relieving stress and irritability. It regulates the flow of qi throughout your body. Also, if you are experiencing increased tension or digestive issues due to stress, this point is ideal for you. Additionally, it is used to treat a variety of digestive disorders, including indigestion, diarrhea, and constipation. It is also said to be effective in relieving nausea and vomiting.
THE LARGE INTESTINE 4 OR “UNION OF THE VALLEY”.
Your “valley union” is just beyond where your thumb and middle finger bones meet. Sometimes this place can be a little sore. If you reach a place that seems a little more sensitive than another, you are probably in the right place!
FOR WHAT ?
This is a great self-acupressure point because you can activate it just about anywhere! (even out of sight during a stressful Zoom meeting or under the table while having dinner with your in-laws). Again, do NOT use this stitch during pregnancy as it may induce labor.
How to achieve self-acupressure?
If you’re looking to improve your health and well-being through acupressure, there are a few things you can do to increase your chances of success. First, find a comfortable place to sit or lie down. Next, identify the points you want to work on and apply pressure with your fingers, palm, or elbow. Be sure to breathe deeply as you apply pressure and focus on relaxation. Finally, don’t forget to drink plenty of water afterwards to help flush out toxins.