Pressure points (also known as acupressure) are specific points on the body that you can massage for relief. We all deal with muscle tension, headaches, nausea, pain, etc. Applying pressure to certain points can alleviate physical discomfort/pain as they help to calm the nervous system, and they can also help with your mental health too, like if you’re feeling stressed or anxious.
Acupressure/pressure points traditionally rely on the same principles and points as acupuncture. Pressure points are convenient because you can do them yourself at any time. As long as you know where the points are, it takes no skill, equipment, or anything. Just slowly massage a pressure point, applying some gentle pressure as you go. If you can, it also helps to close your eyes and take deep breaths in and out while you do this.
Try these 5 pressure points on yourself and see how it affects you:
- Hall of Impression / Yin Tang
Location: Right between the eyebrows.
For: Frontal headaches, insomnia, dizziness, restlessness, and more.
- Union Valley / He Gu
Location: On the web between your thumb and index finger, at the highest part of the muscle.
For: Helps with headaches, constipation, pain in the back or neck, anxiety.
- Spirit Gate / Shen Men (Ear)
Location: Found in the upper third of your ear (if you search this one, you’ll probably get 2 results. One is a point in the ear and the other located below your wrist.)
For: Stress, boost energy, headaches, inflammation, depression, pain.
- Pericardium 6 / Nei Guan
Location: Located on the medial line of the inner part of the wrist, about 3 fingers below the wrist.
For: Most known for nausea, motion sickness, anxiety, helps to calm the nerves.
- Shoulder Well / Jian Jing
Location: In your shoulder muscles, halfway between edge of shoulder and base of neck.
For: Stress, headache, muscle tension, neck and shoulder pain/stiffness, etc.
There are many more pressure points throughout your body that can relieve tension, stress, anxiety, headaches, etc. If there’s something more specific that you’d like to address, try looking up pressure points that could help. (For example, neck pain.)
One thing that I hope you take away from this month’s Mental Health Awareness posts is that your mental health is very much connected to your physical health. When you’re stressed, your body feels it too. Your body can and often will express whatever is going on with you mentally into something very “real” and physical. Such as a headache, fatigue, high blood pressure . . . you get where I’m going with this.
While I don’t think that these pressure points will be the magic cure for your mental or physical well-being, it helps to give yourself what is essentially a small massage to help relieve stress.