How To Use Acupressure On Your Body To Relieve Stress And Tension
Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) therapies have been thriving in the spotlight in recent years, with Instagram-friendly acupuncture studios popping up in New York, and TCM drinks available on-the-go in Hong Kong.
Last year, TCM was even added in The World Health Organisation (WHO)’s global diagnostic compendium––legitimising TCM in the eyes of modern medicine, thus providing the nod of approval TCM practitioners around the world have been waiting for.
While there are numerous TCM treatments available, many of them revolve around the science of acupuncture pressure points to tackle illnesses and ease problems such as stress and anxiety.
With stress and anxiety levels at a record high around the world due to the Covid-19 pandemic, we spoke with TCM practitioner, Dr. Ruth Lee from Balance Health to learn more about pressure points and how we can use them at our advantage to manage everyday anxiety.
What are pressure points?
“In traditional Chinese medicine, pressure points––or acupoints––are the specific hubs of Qi (vital energy) which are transported through the meridians to different parts of the body,” says Dr. Ruth Lee.
“The ultimate goal of acupressure and acupuncture is to unblock problematic meridians by stimulating pressure points, activating a free flow of qi to balance our body, mind and spirit.”
How can pressure points help with stress and anxiety?
“According to traditional Chinese medicine, anxiety, stress and depression is caused by an imbalance within organ systems that results in dysregulation of the brain function,” says Dr. Lee.
This may be caused by the stagnation of Qi due to a blood circulation dysregulation, excessive inner heat, dampness and phlegm, she adds.
“By simulating the relevant pressure points, one could activate the qi flow and regulate the balance of the above mentioned organ systems.”
1/5 Nei Guan (PC6)
Position: Located at the inner side of your forearm, about three-finger widths below your wrist
Function: Reduce anxiety and relieve nausea and congested chest
When massaging these pressure points, “always use firm, deep pressure in a small rotating or up-and-down movement,” says Dr. Lee, “You could use the pads of your thumb or any finger as the tools, or use a jade stick or an electrical acu-pen to perform the acupressure massage if you prefer stronger stimulations.”
2/5 Yin Tang (EX-HN3)
Position: Located at the mid-point between the inner ends of eyebrows
Function: Stabilises emotions, relieving sinus pressure and pain
While you could stimulate the pressure points on your own, Dr. Lee suggests finding a friend or your partner to help for a more relaxing experience, especially for hard-to-reach areas on your body. When massaging the pressure points, she also recommends lying down or sitting in a comfortable position while making sure you’re breathing deeply.
3/5 Tai Yang (EX-HN5)
Position: Located at both sides of the temples
Function: Relieves symptoms of insomnia, flu, migraine, dizziness and eye disease
“I love the Tai-Yang the best. The key of success is to rub them in circular motion for a few seconds and then press for a few seconds and then release. Close your eyes and do some breath work at the same time,” says Dr. Lee.
See also: Nutrition Month 2020: 7 Traditional Ingredients From Chinese Medicine That Can Help Boost Your Health
4/5 Qi Men (LR14)
Location: Located right below your nipples, between 6th and 7th ribs
Function: Positioned at the end point of the Liver meridian, Qi Men is especially effective to move stagnant Liver Qi and to calm our emotions
To enhance stimulation of Qi Men, Dr. Lee recommends using both of your palms to rub back and forth along the rib cage below your breasts.
5/5 Lou Gong (PC8)
Position: Located on the mid-point of your palm, make a fist and find the spot where the tip of your middle finger comes in contact with your palm
Function: Alleviates feelings of fear, sadness, worry, agitation, or anxiety
Perhaps one of the easiest points to discreetly stimulate throughout the day to manage any anxiety that arises, Lou Gong and other pressure points can be stimulated with acupuncture therapy for higher efficacy as well.