WRITTEN BY ALYSSA D'ARCY, LIC. ACU.
Anxiety and stress are at an all-time high for many of us right now. Acupressure is a form of traditional Chinese medicine that can provide some relief and help restore the body to balance within a matter of minutes. It involves stimulating pressure points on your body. Usually, feelings of intense anxiety and stress hit us at the worst times...like when you're in a social setting or at 2AM when you’re trying to fall asleep. These acupressure points are easy to do and can be used in any situation at any time.
Yin Tang “Hall of Impression Point"
Start by sitting comfortably. This point is located between your eyebrows. Close your eyes and take a few deep breaths. Gently apply pressure with your index finger or thumb. Massage the point in a circular motion for 5 to 10 minutes. Mantras or visualizations are powerful tools to use during this time. For example, I like to imagine that there is a protective light shining around my body as if I were glowing with a golden white light. This point calms the spirit in the treatment of insomnia, anxiety, and agitation. (Sidenote: This is a good point for those Sunday scaries or battling a hangover).
Large Intestine 4 "Union Valley Point”
One of the best points for actively moving Qi (energy) in the body, LI4 is well known for its ability to relieve pain. This point is located between the index finger and the thumb. Stimulating this point can help reduce stress, headaches, and neck pain. With your index finger and thumb, apply firm pressure with your other hand. Massage this point for 5 seconds taking deep, slow breaths. NOTE: Avoid this point if you're pregnant as it can induce labor
Liver 3 "Great Surge”
This point is famously paired with Large Intestine 4 to create "4-gates", which open up the flow of Qi (energy) throughout the body. Liver 3 is located on your foot in between your big toe and second toe. This point is excellent for promoting the smooth flow of Liver Qi. Stress and blocked emotions are usually the most common causes of "stagnant liver qi." Liver 3 helps reduce anxiety and stress as well as reduce pain, insomnia and menstrual cramps. Apply firm pressure to this point and massage for 5 to 10 seconds.
Heart 7 "Spirit Gate”
Spirit Gate is located on the wrist just below the pisiform bone on the ulnar side (pinky side). This point calms the spirit and is beneficial for insomnia especially when you’re overtired. It can regulate the heartbeat and tonify the heart muscle. Liver 3 is excellent for acute stress, while Heart 7 is most helpful for chronic stress. Spirit Gate is located on the wrist in a depression just below the pisiform bone on the ulnar side (pinky side). This point calms the spirit and is beneficial for insomnia due to being over-tired. It can regulate the heartbeat and tonify the heart muscle. Liver 3 is excellent for acute stress, while Heart 7 is most helpful for chronic stress.
Conception Vessel 17 "Chest Center”
Known as the "Sea of Qi" CV17 has the ability to move Qi throughout the entire body. This point is located in the center of the sacrum, level with the 4th intercostal space. This point is intimately involved with the circulatory and respiratory systems. When stress causes chest pain, feelings of tightness in the chest, racing heartbeat or palpitations, this is a great point to use. This point can be done with gentle, direct finger pressure, or more gently placing the palm over the point
Ear Shen Men "Heavenly Gate”
I suggest using a mirror to locate this point. It is located in the upper shell of your ear, at the of the triangle-like hallow. I love using this point for most of my patients at the start of treatment. This point is so powerful that it treats almost everything from anxiety, stress, insomnia to inflammatory disease, etc. I like to send my patients home with ear seeds placed on the point and can be stimulated throughout the day. Apply firm pressure in a circular motion for 2 minutes.