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Reducing Stress Through Acupressure Massage

Acupuncture massages is an ancient technique that applies pressure to specific points of the body to release tension and enhance relaxation. Read through this article to discover how you can incorporate acupressure massages into your stress management routine.

Reducing stress through acupressure

Everyone has encountered overwhelming stress at some point in their lives. While each person has a way of dealing with stress, there are times when their ways just don’t work.

If stress is bogging you down, why don’t you give acupressure a try?

What is Acupressure?

Acupressure is considered a type of massage based on acupuncture. Like acupuncture, acupressure targets the same spots on the body called “acupoints”. Unlike in acupuncture wherein thin, fine needles are inserted into the acupoints, fingertip pressure is instead applied.

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) specialists believe that applying pressure on the acupoints helps to balance the vital energy or Qi. By stimulating acupoints along the different pathways or meridians, you relieve stress, thus restoring balance to your Qi.

Studies have shown that acupressure is effective at relieving stress. Other research revealed that acupressure has a calming effect when compared with other forms of treatment.

How to Perform Acupressure

While it is best to start your acupressure journey with guidance from a TCM practitioner who will show you the acupoints and demonstrate how much pressure to apply, you can already perform acupressure on yourself, so that you will feel calmer and relaxed.

Here are the key acupoints for relieving stress and their respective modes of action:

Baihui (DU-20) Governing Vessel “Hundred Meetings”

This point is located at the crown of the head. DU-20 regulates the movement of yang energy in the body. It raises the yang to relieve depression and sadness. It grounds energy to ease anxiety and overthinking. DU-30 also helps in clearing the mind to help restore focus. It also nourishes the brain and relieves headaches, insomnia, and dizziness.

Yin Tang (M-HN-3), “Hall of Impression”

Yin Tang is located at the exact center between the eyebrows and above the bridge of the nose. A powerful point, it calms the spirit and relieves emotional restlessness and anxiety. Connected with the pineal gland, it promotes deep relaxation and treats insomnia. Yin Tang offers relief from headaches, foggy thinking, and clears nasal congestion or a runny nose.

Shanzhong (REN-17) Conception Vessel “Chest Center”

REN-17 is located at the center of the chest at the midpoint between the nipples. This point is effective in people who feel the effects of stress and anxiety in their chest, characterized by chest tightness, shortness of breath, or palpitations. This point helps in regulating the movement of Qi, which has become stuck due to emotional distress.

Shenmen (HT-7) “Spirit Gate”

This point is located on the crease of the inner wrist, towards the side of the ulna or the little finger. You will feel a hollow at the base of the pisiform bone. HT-17 is the “source point” on the heart channel, where the Qi of the heart organ system gathers. It is deeply connected with the heart meridian to nourish the spirit and treat all emotional imbalances. It also help strengthen the heart Qi and blood. HT-17 quiets the mind and relieves worries and anxieties, eases emotional distress with disturbances in sleep. It also releases chest tightness and heart palpitations. 

Sanyinjiao (SP-6) “Three Yin Crossing”

SP-6 is located on the inside of your leg, just above the ankle. Look for the highest point of your ankle then place for finger widths up your leg, just behind the tibia. Aside from being effective in relieving emotional and sleep disorders, SP-6 is a great point to use for digestive, urinary, and gynecological issues. It is named “Three Yin Crossing” because the Liver, Spleen, and Kidney meridians pass through here – the three organs which are frequently affected by stress. Symptoms treated include exhaustion and fatigue, chronic pain, indigestion, and menstrual problems. SP-6 builds back yin and blood and moves stagnant Qi in these channels. Pregnant women should not massage this point.

Jianjing (GB-21), “Shoulder Well”

This point is located at the highest spot of the shoulder muscle, at the midpoint between the spine and rotator cuff. GB-21 helps to release stress and tension in the upper body. It can help alleviate migraines, anger, and high blood pressure. When pressing on this point, maintain steady breaths into the abdomen. Women should not use this point if they are pregnant.

Taichong (LR-3) “Great Surge”

This point is located on the foot, between the first and second toes. It is around an inch away from the web of the toes. LR-3 is THE point to relieve stress, anger, and irritability. It regulates the flow of Qi and blood all over the body to release tension and relieve pain. LR-3 also treats menstrual and digestive disorders which are aggravated by stress, including headaches and TMJ. Being the source point of the Liver meridian system, LR-3 nourishes Liver yin and blood and calms the spirit. It also detoxifies and cleanses the Liver.

A Few Reminders

Before you start performing acupressure, here are a few reminders you need to keep in mind. Do not do acupressure if there is a wound or other injury in the acupoint. Do not press too hard. Just apply enough pressure so that you don’t feel any discomfort. It is recommended that you press on the acupoint for 30 seconds to 3 minutes. Pregnant women should first see a TCM specialist before doing acupressure. 

You need not be burdened with the heavy weight of stress. Try pressing on the seven pressure points we have discussed above to relieve stress and other bodily ailments.

References

  1. Hackensack Meridian Health. Pressure Points for Stress Relief. [Last accessed March 20, 2024]
  2. Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. Acupressure for Stress and Anxiety. [Last accessed March 20, 2024] 
  3. Balance Charleston. 7 Acupressure Points for Stress + Anxiety Relief. [Last accessed March 20, 2024]

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