The words stress and anxiety are commonplace these days. A human body is meant to experience stress in certain instances as a trigger to deal with that situation immediately, and then ideally, recover and carry on with their day. More and more frequently we experience stress as soon as we wake up (or worse, when we are trying to get to sleep) – our thoughts, the news, social media, and countless other sources stimulate this stress response in us and it either takes a very long time for us to come out of that mode, or we remain in that stress loop indefinitely. We now recognize that many of the damaging diseases of slow accumulation can either be caused by or exacerbated by stress.
When worry, stress, or anxiety become chronic they can have a number of harmful effects. Our vital energy becomes depleted as a large part of our daily life is spent consumed by it and our ability to deal with the world becomes impaired. Our sleep is affected as well as appetite and digestion, which then can lead to headaches, tension, dizziness, and palpitations and so on. Many people suffer from anxiety from childhood through their teens and well into adulthood. Mental health is such an important part of our overall health, and thankfully, it has recently become a more prominent focus to practitioners across the spectrum of wellness.
It is never too early or too late in life to learn skills to help cope with emotions that might otherwise be left unattended to for an entire lifetime. That is why I want to help you to learn about Acupressure and some of the points that can help you to relieve stress, worry, and anxiety as well as promoting a calm and centred peacefulness and mental clarity.
What are Acupressure Points? Acupuncture points and Acupressure points are exactly the same, it is the technique used to stimulate them that is the difference. Consider the points as pools of energy that are waiting to be activated in order to do their assigned jobs. Just as in this article we will be discussing points that will calm a person’s system, there are many points that invigorate the system.
How do I stimulate the acupressure points? After you have located he points, they are activated by pressing gently at first, and if it is not sensitive, you may apply a bit more pressure. It should not feel uncomfortable, but some points can be tender at a very light touch. I find that gently massaging the point can be quite effective and for an extra calming result you can use a drop of Lavender or Sandalwood essential oils on the points as well.
How do I locate the point? Below I have listed many of my very favorite points for calming the mind and reducing stress and anxiety. Upon first reading through the descriptions of the locations, it may seem difficult but keep in mind that most acupuncture/acupressure points are not the size of an acupuncture needle tip (teeny tiny!) but rather, about the size of your finger tip. Generally speaking, for the purposes of these points, the intention behind the willingness to self-treat and finding the approximate area are going to be just as beneficial. You will not be harmed if you are slightly off from the exact point!
- Called – Gushing Spring
- Located – at the bottom of the foot, 1/3 of the way from the top and on the middle side of the base of the big toe.
- This point – is known for bringing excess energy down, so is beneficial for people who are “in their heads” too much and always over thinking. This point connects you to the earth and grounds you allowing you to move forward with more clarity. Excellent to do before bed for people with “restless mind” insomnia.
- Called – The Hall of Impression; aka The Third Eye or Brow Chakra
- Located – midway between the inner tips of the eyebrows.
- This point – immediately calms the mind and nervous system. Balances hormones and allows for a deeply spiritual connection to self.
- Called – The Sea of Tranquility; aka the Heart Chakra
- Located – in the centre of your breastbone at the level of the nipples.
- This point – has an immediate calming effect when in an anxious, nervous or stressful situation. Relaxes a feeling of tightness or breathlessness in the chest and palpitations. End your stress relief routine with this point for an all over balancing. Or at the same time as Yintang to calm the nervous system and open the heart to new possibilities.
- Called – Yellow Emperor or Grandfather Grandson
- Located – on the inside of the foot, in the depression approximately two finger widths from the base of the big toe, below the first metatarsal bone.
- This Point – The Spleen is associated with digestion of food as well as processing and digestion of thoughts and experiences. Excessive thinking and an overly analytical mind can be quieted with this point. It is a sensitive point which assists in bringing people out of their heads and into their bodies.
- Called – Leading Valley
- Located – two finger widths directly over the top of the ear (ear apex).
- This point – relaxes, refreshes, and rejuvenates the brain quickly to gain clarity of mind and reduce the feeling of being overwhelmed and stressed-out.
- Called – Vitality Point (3 Mile Point)
- Located – four finger widths below the knee and one finger width outside of your shinbone.
- This point – is very healing! It harmonizes digestion and the stomach. This point fortifies healing energy and the Immune System. Requires deep pressure unless it’s already tender to the touch. Provides stability and grounding, heals the effects of too much worrying and over-thinking.
- Called – Central Treasury or Middle Palace
- Located – on the top of the chest, under the shoulder. Locate the depression under the end of the clavicle next to the muscle, then move down one thumb width and slightly out to the side.
- This point – is best for “letting go”. For internal emptiness and making contact to one’s inner worth.
- Called – The Outer Gate
- Located – three finger widths from the outer wrist crease (hairy side of arm), on the opposite side of PC6. Both PC6 and TW5 can be stimulated at the same time.
- This point – is therapeutic for those that get overwhelmed easily. Helps to strengthen relationships and your ability to cope with the outer world.
- Called – the Inner Gate
- Located – three finger widths up from the centre of your wrist crease in between your bones and tendon cords.
- This point – balances your feelings, perceptions, and inner awareness
Now that you are an expert at locating and massaging acupuncture/acupressure points, try doing this several times per week or even as a ritual before bed or first thing in the morning. This can be one more tool in your toolbox of health and wellness! It costs nothing, you need no fancy equipment and it is great for humans of any age!