Acupressure has been used for thousands of years in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). It applies the same principles as acupuncture (without the needles) to treat disease and enhance mind/body health. According to theory, special acupoints lie along energy meridians or channels in the body. It is believed that vital energy – a life force called qi (ch’i) – flows through these invisible channels, connecting organs and creating a network of energy flows throughout. When one of these meridians is blocked or out of balance, illness can occur. The goal of acupressure is to restore balance to the body’s channels by applying pressure to the appropriate acupoints.
Using fingers, palms, elbows or feet, acupressure can be an effective way to relieve a wide range of ills, e.g., nausea, headache, anxiety, nasal congestion, fatigue, etc. If you find yourself tossing and turning at night, here’s one technique, suggested by a faculty member at leading naturopathic Bastyr University, to promote sleep:
- Between your eyebrows, there is a small depression on the level of your brows, right above the nose. Apply gentle pressure to that point for a minute.
- Between your first and second toes, on top of the foot, there is a depression. Press that area for a few minutes until you feel a dull ache.
- Imagine that your foot has three sections, beginning at the tips of your toes and ending at the back of your heel. Find the distance one-third back from the tips of your toes and press on the sole of your foot for a few minutes.
- Massage both of your ears for a minute.
Some general tips:
- Use deep, firm pressure to massage and stimulate each point.
- When massaging acupoints, try to relax in a comfortable position, close your eyes, and breathe deeply.
- Repeat the massage as often as you like; there is no limit to the number of times a day.
- Besides massaging these points on yourself, anyone can also help massage these points for you.