It wasn’t too long ago that Eastern medicine of any kind was considered quackery. Thankfully, we have evolved and are beginning to see the merits of various types of Eastern philosophies.
Of all of these modalities, Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) is probably the most widely accepted. Many conventional doctors will even suggest some form of TCM to complement Western medical treatments.
Ancient healing methods like reflexology, acupuncture, and even herbal remedies are now considered viable options. One type of ancient healing that is making huge strides in the medical community is acupressure.
What is Acupressure?
Not surprisingly, acupressure was first used in Asia thousands of years ago to heal a variety of ailments. This 5,000-year-old technique uses the simple pressure of your fingers or elbows to gradually press key healing points on your body that ultimately stimulate self-healing (1).
This type of healing is similar to acupuncture since it’s also based on specific healing points. It is highly effective for relieving a variety of stress-related ailments. Moreover, it is something anyone can do immediately to help relieve tension and promote healing.
Studies show that acupressure can help with things like persistent fatigue (2), back pain (3), anxiety (4), symptoms of menopause (5), nausea (6), and tension headaches (7). Acupressure can even help to boost your immunity so you can fight disease more effectively (8).
Traditional medicine is proving to be invaluable because it treats the body as a whole, whereas conventional medicine tends to only focus on the symptoms of disease and how best to manage them. While both have their place, healing practices like acupressure may be able to reduce the root cause of disease, something conventional medicine tends to ignore.
Where acupressure really shines, however, is in stress reduction. We live in a stress-packed world and anything that can help alleviate stress is something we should all look at. Studies show that acupressure can help to relieve pain, reduce muscular tension, improve circulation, and promote deep relaxation.
One 2002 study even showed that stimulating a specific acupressure/acupuncture point (HT7) can reduce psychological stress by as much as 94 percent and reduce physiological stress by 44 percent (9).
How To Use Acupressure To Relieve Stress
Acupressure works by relaxing tight muscles that result from emotional stress and physical trauma, which ultimately causes your body to contract, tightening and hardening your muscles much like protective armor in order to shield your “inner self.”
According to Eastern healers, this chronic tension prevents energy from circulating freely within your body. This can lead to a variety of physical and emotional imbalances. And if the underlying issue is not addressed, it can create long-lasting emotional problems that can continue to physically attack your body.
While most conventional therapies address the cognitive and emotional aspects of trauma (i.e. psychotherapy), they do not deal with the physiological source. This is where acupressure comes in. This type of physical therapy is literally hands on and works directly with your body to help relieve physical ailments, muscular tension, and any emotional imbalances associated with them.
Pressure Point for Anxiety
One of the major fallouts of stress is anxiety. This destructive symptom can wreak havoc on your mind and body. Luckily, acupressure is one technique that can immediately help to relieve much of the tension caused by anxiety.
Here is how to use acupressure for stress-related anxiety using acupressure point GV 24.5 or the Governing Vessel 24.5 (10).
- Use your finger or thumb and gently put pressure on the area between your eyebrows for 45 seconds. This point, called the “Third Eye Point”, sits exactly between your eyebrows, on the curve where the bridge of your nose meets your forehead.
- Begin applying more pressure here while pushing upward to the midpoint of your forehead and repeat for 1 minute.
- Control your breathing by taking deep breaths as you feel your body relax.
- Place your finger gently between your eyebrows again, but this time, begin at the slope of your nose.
- At the same time, apply pressure to the middle of your sternum, between your pectorals.