Acupressure, an ancient healing method, was developed over 5,000 years ago in Asia and it has been modified and refined ever since. It is a very simple, yet very effective treatment which is used as self-treatment to reduce tension and pain, to boost the immune system and circulation, and to decrease stress.
The mechanism is based on the theory that applying pressure on the specific points manipulates Qi that flows through meridians or energy pathways. The Traditional Chinese Medicine Foundation describes meridians in the following manner:
Picture a road map: a profusion of points woven into a web by lines of travel. Now imagine this system 3-D in your body: a vast network of invisible energy pathways connecting to each other and to every atom, cell, tendon, bone, organ, each centimeter of skin — everything in your body! They link the upper portion with the lower and the surface with the interior, so that nothing is truly separate.
“Now add other dimensions to this 3-D interconnected body “map”: your mind, your emotions, and spirit — everything conscious and unconscious within you. These amazing pathways are the meridians, and they form your body and all invisible aspects of your being into an intercommunicating whole.”
This article provides 5 acupressure points that can be self-administered when needed, to reduce stress and anxiety, two states of mind that can affect anyone.
Using Acupressure to Relieve Stress and Anxiety
1. Point 1 (Nei Guan)
Beginning from the wrist, measure the length of three fingers down the forearm. This point is located at the area where the third finger meets the middle of the arms width. Apply pressure with the thumb and rotate it in a circular motion for a few minutes. This simple massage will help you get rid of anxiety and reduce any nausea, if present.
2. Point 2 (Union Valley)
This point is situated between the webbing of the thumb and the index finger. Form a pinch by applying the index finger and the thumb from the opposing hands to either side of the webbing. Apply pressure for a few minutes while taking deep breaths.
3. Point 3 (Shoulder Well)
This point is located half way between the base of the neck and the point of the shoulder. Apply pressure with the index finger to relieve stress and reduce tension. According to the principles of Traditional Chinese Medicine, this point also promotes free flow of Qi throughout the meridian system.
4. Point 4 (Central Treasury)
This point is located on the tender tissue two finger widths above the point where the underneath of the arm meets the chest. Apply moderate pressure with the tip of the index finger to increase blood circulation, improve breathing, and balance unstable emotions.
5. Point 5 (Heavenly Pillar)
This point is located one finger width below the base of the skull. Put the fingers on the back on the skill and apply pressure with both thumbs. Take deep breaths as you stimulate the point for a few minutes to relieve stress.