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  • Writer's picturePhoebus Tian

There are six acupressure points that can be used to relieve stress

Updated: May 13, 2021

The pace of modern life can often make you feel very anxious or even panicky. Everyone experiences stress at some stage. A small amount of stress can often turn into motivation, but too much stress can often lead to negative emotions. We should learn to de-stress ourselves when we experience too much pressure. In Chinese medicine, we believe that it may help us establish balance and improve health throughout the body by applying pressure to some acupuncture points.

What can stress do to your body?

When a person is under intense short-term anxiety or long-term chronic stress, our body will experience a series of physical and mental reactions. Suppose the adrenal glands release epinephrine and norepinephrine under emergency stress. In that case, the body will immediately be in a state of alert combat, with skeletal muscle contraction, increased heart rate, blood pressure and respiratory rate. The endocrine system releases cortisol in response to chronic stress. Prolonged increases in cortisol can damage neurons in the brain, affecting memory and cause many health problems.

What is dysautonomia?

Are you under much stress, experiencing fatigue, headaches, insomnia and heart palpitations, but can't find the cause? It could be autonomic dysfunction or dysautonomia. The autonomic nerve is a type of peripheral nerve in the human body. It is divided into two major groups, the sympathetic nerve and the parasympathetic nerve. The sympathetic nerves help the body's organs be in a state of readiness to face sudden external threats, while the parasympathetic nerves help suppress sympathetic overreaction, slowing the heart rate, blood pressure and breathing, and allowing the body to rest appropriately.

Under normal circumstances, the autonomic nervous system is regulated by the brain and the inferior colliculus of the pituitary gland. However, the sympathetic nerves are overactive due to the stressful nature of work and life, late nights and sleep. As a result, when the sympathetic nerves are in a state of prolonged excitement, it's difficult for the parasympathetic nerves to perform their normal regulatory function leading to autonomic dysfunction. Once dysautonomia occurs, the body will be put on constant "alert" and "tension", resulting in discomfort in various parts of the body. From head to toe, it can cause headaches, tinnitus, shortness of breath, dry mouth, throat congestion, palpitations, chest tightness, irregular heartbeat, bloating, irritable bowel syndrome, and a lot of other symptoms such as anxiety, restless sleep, nervousness, fatigue and tiredness.

It is essential to maintain good sleep and a good state of mind to better cope with stress and regulate our emotions, and maintain good physical and mental health. Chinese medicine is so profound that as early as the Yellow Emperor's Classic of Internal Medicine(Huang Di Nei Jing, 206 BCE–220 CE), it describes emotions and health as "calmness and emptiness, the true energy follows "(恬淡虚无,真气从之).

According to Chinese medicine, One simple and effective method of health care is acupressure. Acupressure effectively improves our body's blood circulation and helping us to relieve fatigue, and it is also great for treating imbalance.

The acupressure method is one of the Tui-na techniques, known as the pressure point method. It also has a long history of been used in Chinese martial arts(Kung fu). A straightforward technique of acupressure is Thumb Pointing.

Thumb Pointing

Hold the hand in an empty fist(it feels like holding an imaginary small egg). The thumb extended and resting against the middle knuckle of the index finger, the end of the thumb is used to apply force to the area or point of application. Use the forearm and thumb to apply active force and continuous pressure. The pressure is applied from light to heavy. Press and continue, or press down in a rhythm, gradually add pressure. Repeat the massage as often as you like.

Is Acupressure effective?

One review published in 2011 found acupressure to be effective at reducing pain in nine of ten studies. Acupressure may be a useful strategy for the management of multiple symptoms in a variety of patient populations. (Lee, 2011)

Acupressure Points for Stress

Here is a list of six commonly used acupressure points. Learn how to locate them.

Tian Zhu (BL 10)

There is a hollow at the top of the neck, about 2cm away from the middle of the hollow.

Yin Tang (EX-HN 3)

Yin Tang is on the face. It's located at the midpoint between the inner ends of the eyebrows. To press this point, using the middle finger is easier.

Dan Zhong (RN17)

This point is right in the middle of the line that connects the two nipples; it may be sensitive in some anxious persons.

Nei Guan (PC6)

Place the first three fingers of one hand on the inside of the wrist of the other hands. You will distinctly feel two tendons—press right between them, about five centimetres from the wrist crease.

Shen Men (HT 7)

Shen Men is a point on the Heart meridian. Find the boney area at your wrist, along a line from your little finger, and then you will feel a tendon. Next to the tendon, there is a small hollow.

Tai Chong (LR3)

This point is located on the top of the feet, just in the hollow between the first and second toes. If your pressure is strong enough, you should find that this point is sensitive.

Lee EJ, Frazier SK. The efficacy of acupressure for symptom management: a systematic review. J Pain Symptom Manage. 2011;42(4):589-603. doi:10.1016/j.jpainsymman.2011.01.007

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