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Acupuncture is a familiar term to many people already but acupressure may not be as well known. However, it might be more familiar than you think because it’s our natural instinct to put pressure on the places that are painful. For example, when you stub your toe or bump your arm, your first instinct is to touch it. This is the essence of healing with accupressure points. So, you should definitely give it a try.
If you are interested to learn more, read on for best tips and tricks!
Where are Your Pressure Points?
As mentioned, touching our painful points is an instinct to us and this is the very essence of acupressure. This is the practice of applying pressure with fingertips to points on the body with the goal of balancing life energy. It originated in the Chinese medicine. These points are found along meridians – energy channels within our body.
This practice may sound a bit strange to people in the Western communities because they are so used to pills and medicines for different issues but acupressure is a natural healing practice for many problems.
It unblocks the meridians with gentle pressure on specific points and the brain releases endorphins. These points are called acupoints where chemicals muffle pain signals and cause pleasure.
It’s not just a remedy but also a preventative measure because strategic pressure can prevent stressors and illnesses. The theory is that a disease is the last stage of what is a long process of imbalance in energy and disharmony.
Your body has hundreds of acupoints. They usually lie in indentations – hollow at the temples, between collar bones and so on.
These points are the same for acupuncture and acupressure. Acupressure is just more forgiving in nature because you don’t have to hit a precise spot.
Pressure on many spots on the head, for example, relieves anxiety. Helpful points can also be on the opposite side of the body than the point of pain and these are called distal points. For instance, a foot pressure point could help with migraine.
It’s safe for anyone to try and it’s easy to learn.
In order to get started, you should know the ten most used pressure points.
1. Arm pain and digestion
For this, hold your left arm in front of you at a 90-degree angle, turn the left palm up and put your thumb at the outside of your elbow crease. This is where you should press. You can also switch arms.
2. Headache, muscles, bowel movements
Place your left palm down and squeeze your fingers and thumb together. Between your index finger and your thumb, you’ll notice a bulge. Relax your hand and press on this point.
3. Skin problems
Sit in a chair and place your feet flat on the floor. Feel the bulge in your thigh muscles two thumb widths away from the edge of the knee, on the top inside of the leg.
Find this point four finger widths below the lower edge of the kneecap, one finger width from the shinbone. You’ll feel this point moving when you flex your foot.
On top of the foot, at the webbing between the second toe and the big toe and then slide up until you feel an indentation where you should apply the pressure.
6. Sinus congestion
This point is harder to find than the others because it’s placed halfway between ankle bone and center of the kneecap. You should sit and wrap your fingers around the back of the shin at the middle. Then press into the shinbone, slide thumb down for two inches towards the outside of the leg.
7. Menstrual cramps
Above the ankle bone on the inside of the leg you can find the best pressure point for menstrual cramps. It’s four finger widths above on the inner leg.
8. Kidney health
Put your right thumb on the inside of the bone of your left ankle and slide to the gap between the bone and Achilles tendon.
9. Migraine, colds, neck pain
Place your thumb on the base of your skull near your hairline and slide down to the base of your skull near the hairline midway between the spine and the ear. Between two neck muscles you’ll find your pressure point.
10. Kidney meridian
On either side of the lower back above the sacrum lie on the floor on top of the tennis ball and stimulate this point.
What are the Benefits of Acupressure?
Acupressure is a specific message which uses thumbs and fingers to apply pressure to various important points on the body. Therapists use different rhythms and pressure levels to apply this massage. By applying pressure to these points you can manipulate the flow of chi energy in your body. These points are places where you can find the most chi. It can treat many ailments and bring many benefits. It can help with:
- Stress relief, tension and anxiety relief
- Relaxing joints and muscles
- Improving sleep patterns
- Reducing headaches or headache pain
- Helping with chronic pain
- Helping with muscles and joint pain
- Reducing pain after a sports injury or any other type of injury
- Helping with digestive issues
It can help by stimulating bodily systems and help boost energy and immune systems.
Acupressure Points to Help You Fall Asleep
Insomnia and other sleep issues are caused by various mental and physical conditions. Researchers now see it as a problem of the brain being unable to stop being awake. Acupressure can be an alternative to medicines and pills as it is healthier and it can affect your sleep positively instead of forcing you to sleep.
Insomnia, in acupressure, means that stress is blocking your energy flow and preventing sleep.
There are four pressure points for better sleep that you can stimulate if you want to sleep better.
Neiguan is one of the best points to apply pressure on if you want to sleep and relax. To find it, put three fingers at the base of your wrist and feel the natural depression. Press this point until you feel relaxed and calm.
Shimien is located at the base of your foot. You should locate it by sliding from the ankle bone to the sole of your foot. This point is in front of your heel. It’s a soft spot that should be pressed gently and it shouldn’t hurt if done properly.
Shenmen is said to control paths to the heart. It’s located directly below the base of the small finger, near the crease of the wrist. Apply pressure for 20 seconds.
Anmien is a spot on the head at the base of the skull, behind the ear, where the neck muscles connect to jawline.
These are just some of the acupressure points that you can massage for better sleep and fight against insomnia.
Acupressure Points to Relieve Anxiety
Most people have anxiety at least once in their lives, if not on a daily basis. You can feel mild symptoms when you face a stressful situation.
Anxiety is marked by:
- Panic, worry or fear
- Lack of focus
- Difficulty falling asleep
- Nausea, headache and so on
- Muscle tension
Acupressure can help with anxiety. Stimulating pressure points can relieve anxiety.
Apply pressure to the point between your eyebrows.
You can also try applying pressure to the upper shell of your ear, at the tip of the hollow there.
Apply pressure to the shoulder muscle by pinching it with thumb and middle finger.
This point is between the thumb and your index finger. Massaging it can reduce stress.
Find the spot two or three finger widths below the space between the intersection between your big toe and second toe. It’s a space above the bone where the pressure could reduce the anxiety.
Apply pressure to the spot that’s about three finger widths below your wrist.
Acupressure vs. Acupuncture
Both acupressure and acupuncture come from traditional Chinese medicine. They are also both connected with the idea that the body has energy and points where energy meridians intersect and that those are the points that need stimulation in order to help certain areas feel better. The difference between acupressure and acupuncture is that acupressure uses massage of certain points while acupuncture uses needles that hit precise spots.
Both practices can relieve anxiety, stress, allergies, arthritis and many other issues. But most people question which one is better.
Acupressure is a great choice for headaches, nausea, migraine and so on. Some people even turn to acupressure after chemotherapy to relieve the stress and side-effects. The pressure to the pain points helps the body release endorphins and this results in more blood flow and oxygen.
This also relaxes the muscles and relieves the pain. Acupressure can also make your immune system stronger.
Acupuncture uses needles and it’s a complicated treatment that requires expertise of a professional acupuncture practitioner. It can help with nausea, infertility, carpal tunnel syndrome, asthma, insomnia, muscular pain, depression and so on. Generally, it’s a good choice. It can even be more effective because needles are dealing with several pain points across your body. You can do it even if you don’t have any issues.
So, you can apply acupressure on your own, at home, but acupuncture requires a professional set of hands. Pick the one that suits you best.
Have you experienced any relief using acupressure? Share you thoughts down below!