DIY Acupressure: 5 Points To Relieve Stress, Pain And Make You Sleep Well
With the first few rays of spring starting to peak through it is officially time to get our bodies moving again in time for summer camping and epic road trips. Winter has the effect of making us feel like an un-oiled Tin-Man, especially when we have been sitting at a desk all day. Get your joints and muscles moving again with these five DIY acupressure tips.
Did you know that your body is covered with tiny little pressure points that are basically go-go-gadget buttons for your joints, moods, and muscles? Natural therapies like acupuncture use needles to work into pressure points as a way of releasing muscular tension and removing muscle related pain that can develop in our joints from bad posture, sitting habits, or even walking habits. Although highly affective, treatments can occasionally come with a hefty price tag and can be hard to work in to a busy schedule.
Working on pressure points with your fingers has similar affects and can be done at home or on the move. You’ll know you’ve hit the right spot when you press it.
How to do this thing
Once you’ve found it use your finger pressure to massage the point. Don’t worry about finding the exact spot or having the same feeling at each point. Each pressure point feels different depending on where your aches and pains are. You’re looking to feel something a little between pleasure and pain, applying pressure so that you can reap the benefits but not injure yourself. Work each point for around three minutes a day to feel the full affects. After you get the feel for it, learn to adjust your pressure depending on how the point feels. But remember, this isn’t an endurance test.
What is it good for?
For skin/hormonal balance
Seasonal weather changes, high stress, and disrupted schedules (partying later because you haven’t frozen in the winter chill) can cause nasty breakouts, usually when you really don’t have the time or cash to deal with another problem in your life. Remove yourself from the narrative of bad-skin ~feelings~ and use acupressure to shake those vibes away.
During your daily routine, rub the Four Whites point above the cheekbones in-line with your pupils for a good three minutes each day. This is a good way to kill time when cleansing and moisturising.
Another good point is the Heavenly Pillar that straddles your spine at the base of your neck just below your hairline where your spine attaches. These points are used to relieve the stress related to skin disorders.
For shoulder and neck pain
Slumping over a desk or slouched in the driver’s seat of a car is basically a Hitchcock movie for your posture. This means sore shoulders and necks are rife in our society, especially around the colder months when we have a tendency to hunch against the weather.
Spend some time on the Union Valley that sits between your thumb and forefinger. Rub on your left hand for your right shoulder, and on your right hand for your left shoulder. Doing it rn.
For sore knees
Sore knees are the worst because no one likes feeling like they are 150 years old. Work on the Calf’s Nose point to feel like you are walking out of the retirement home. Calf’s Nose is located in the outer indentation just below your kneecap. Working on this point relieves all forms of knee-related stiffness and pain.
Alternatively, try the Commanding Middle point, which is found on the back of the knee, in the centre of the knee joint crease. Putting pressure on this point reduces stiffness, general knee pain as well as back pain and sciatica. So you won’t feel ancient anymore.
Ever seen someone rub their Temples with their eyes closed and wondering how they manage to look so blissed out on the bus? It is a classic acupressure point and easy to do, although hard to administer in public without looking like you are posing for a natural therapy photo shoot. Find the pressure point on each side of your forehead and gently rub to release tension.
For better sleep
A good night’s sleep affects everything and one too many bad night’s rest can have long term health affects. Get the best value for your Z’s by working on your Inner Gate point, located on the inside of your forearm, approximately two and half fingers from the crease of your wrist. This point will relieve insomnia and anxiety that is stopping you from getting the best from your rest.
Also great for better sleep is the Vital Diaphragm point. It is a little trickier to reach, so phone a friend or use two tennis balls to get some traction on this one. The Vital Diaphragm point is found on your back, level with the heart between shoulder blade and spine. This point is the most commonly used point for insomnia because stimulating this point also alleviates stress, grief, and anxiety that interrupt sleeping patterns. If using the tennis balls, place the two next to each other and lay back on them so they sit between your shoulder blades.
Go forth and be DIY-Zen’d.
Note: If pregnant, speak to an Acupuncture and Chinese Herbalist professional before administering self-care as some points may cause the uterus to contract.
Claire Dalgleish is a freelance writer and art curator who currently lives in Sydney. She woke up like this. You can read more on her blog art/writing/projects and follow her via @art.writing.projects.