Acupressure for stress relief

Many of you might have heard of acupuncture before, you know that ancient Chinese healing art where they stick you with needles on certain points of your body to get your Qi flowing better, but have you heard of acupressure before? I hadn’t, not before this.

Classical Thai Massage

By Tara Angkor Hotel (Flickr: Classical Thai Massage) [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

So what is acupressure? Well I already gave a very small definition of what acupuncture is; acupressure is pretty much the same thing except without the needles, which is good because I am deathly afraid of needles as it is, so this is right up my alley. Instead of needles, acupressure uses pressure applied from a person’s hands; otherwise the two are almost identical. The basic idea is that there are certain points in our body which when we press/massage/poke a needle into, increases the flow of life or Qi energy which benefits our overall physical and mental health, both acupuncture and acupressure use the same points in the body to manipulate your Qi or life energy.

People use this technique to help solve a range if problems, from back pains and constipation to getting over an addiction and trouble sleeping, but in our case we’re going to be focusing on one thing acupressure is supposed to help and that is stress and anxiety (well technically that’s two things but for the sake of this post we’ll put them into one category).

I am personally more interested in acupressure instead of acupuncture because:

  1. My fear of needles.
  2. You can perform acupressure on yourself with your own hands.

Now I should mention that acupressure/acupuncture comes under the alternative medicine category so there is some controversy on it in the scientific community. There are some people who are open minded and say, “A lot of people seem to benefit from it so maybe there’s actually something to it,” and then you get other side saying “No! Acupressure/acupuncture doesn’t work at all, and anyone who says they benefit from it is either lying or benefits thanks to the placebo effect.” Personally I’ve never tried out either acupressure or acupuncture so I don’t have an opinion yet, but hey, don’t knock it till you try it, right?

Anyway the reason why I mention this is because you probably won’t find that many scientific researches pertaining to this subject. So far the only scientific study on acupuncture I could find was this one. However, you will find a lot of stuff explaining what acupressure/acupuncture is and some of the techniques you can use for various ailments. I couldn’t find anything which explains how it works in detail so I guess we’re stuck with just the Qi flow explanation.

In case you’re interested here’s an article from titled, “What is Acupressure,” explaining what acupressure is and talks about some the methods you can use and the benefits of acupressure in general.

Now then let’s talk about acupressure points which help ease anxiety. I got this information from an article in titled, “10 Best Acupressure Points to Relieve Anxiety, Palpitations, and Nervousness” written by Bipasha Mukherjee . It talks in detail about, well it’s there in the title, for the sake of this post I’m only going to mention the pressure points and where they are, if you want more details you’re going to have to go to the page and read it yourself.

  • TW15 (Triple Warmer 15), this point can be found on both shoulders between the base of your neck the top of your shoulders.
  • B10 (Bladder 10), this point can be found a finger width below the base of your skull.
  • P3 (Pericardium 3), this point can be found on the inside of the arm, at the lower edge of the elbow crease when you bend your arm.
  • P6 (Pericardium 6), this point can be found in the middle of the inner side of the forearm, roughly two and one-half finger widths from the wrist crease.
  • H7 (Heart 7), this point can be found below little-finger side of the forearm, on the wrist.
  • GV 24.5 (Governing Vessel 24.5), this point is called the Third Eye Point, and can be found exactly in between your eyebrows.
  • CV 17 (Conception Vessel 17), this point can be found in the middle of the breastbone, in between your pectoral muscles.
  • Lv 3 (Liver 3), this point can be found on the top side of your foot, an inch above and between your big and the second toe.
  • GB 13 (Gall Bladder 13), this point can be found inside your hairline, above the outer edge of your eyebrow.
  • K 27 (Kidney 27), this point can be found under your collar bone in the hollow adjacent to the breastbone.

We are now close to the end of this post. Before we end this I would like to say that almost all the sites I researched say that you should get proper acupressure treatment from a trained professional, but I think that as long as you are careful and follow the instructions properly, you should be able to get results by doing it yourself too. I’ll be trying these out on myself too, hopefully it’ll work.

So try putting some pressure on the right places and feel your stress flow away, and let me know whether it worked for you!

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