Acupressure and Stress Relief


I talk about a lot of practices and tools to better manage stress and anxiety on this platform. Some simple, some a little bit more complex, and some a little bit unique (like Tapping). Full disclosure, some of these practices don’t have the most rigorous scientific studies to support them. But, if they are safe and effective, why not give them a shot? One of those practices is the traditional Chinese technique of acupressure.

Acupressure (as well as acupuncture – a similar technique), has been practiced for thousands of years. There are some scientific studies to demonstrate the benefits. But the mechanism by which these benefits are derived is still a little bit unclear. The originators of the techniques talk about the restoration of energy flow within the body. Whereas Western medicine seems to attribute the biological mechanism of benefit to the release of endorphins, muscle relaxation, and even the placebo effect, to some extent.

Again, if it works, it works! We are all about using our logical brain to better manage our emotional brain (to better manage our stress anxiety). And we don’t necessarily need a huge, randomized, placebo controlled study to validate certain practices if they work! And especially if they are simple and can be self-administered like acupressure.

There are certain points on the body (like the head, hand/wrist areas) that have been attributed to reduction in stress, anxiety, nausea by essentially pressing on them with your fingers. Now, this practice is intended for temporary or short term relief. But it can be useful in the heat of a stressful moment or in preparation for a stressful event. 

Here’s how the technique is performed:

With your right index and middle finger (or left if you prefer / are left handed), place pressure in the middle of your forehead between the eyebrows for 2-3 minutes. Use enough pressure where you really feel the sensation, just before it begins to hurt.  

Next, apply the same pressure for 2-3 minutes to the inside of your wrist, 2 inches below where your arm and hand join together. Finally, apply the pressure in a pinching fashion to the webbing on your hand between your thumb and first finger.  

These 3 particular points have been shown to relieve stress and anxiety. So give it a try. The next time you feel yourself getting anxious or stressed out, try this acupressure technique. Use it in conjunction with a breathing technique,  a mindfulness technique or a visualization technique. You can reduce your stress and anxiety in just minutes!

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