Acupressure is a great way to quickly release stress or pain. It’s often thought of as acupuncture without needles. It’s easy and can be done anywhere, so I like to think of it as a portable (and free!) acupuncture method. It involves applying pressure to certain parts of the body using your finger tips. The goal is to promote a flow of energy. Although acupressure can be administered by an acupuncturist, it can also be self-administered, which I will explain how to do in this article.
Studies suggest that acupressure may improve mood and fatigue. The method is used to treat pain, headaches, muscle tensions and pain, and nausea. Some studies indicate that acupressure releases endorphins and promotes anti-inflammatory effects.
5 Easy Acupressure Points
1. LI4, or “The Great Eliminator”
The LI4 (Large Intestine 4) is located at the highest point of the skin that connects the thumb and forefinger. Massaging or firmly pressing this point can treat pain, headaches, and fevers. You might notice results in as little as a minute or two, but it can take up to ten minutes or longer.
This pressure point helps stimulate memory. It’s located just above the eyebrow, in line with the center of the eye. Press and hold for a few moments.
Massage or press this point to release anger. It’s located on the webbing of your first two toes. Try giving yourself a quick foot massage while you’re at it.
The GV16 is great for stress and headache relief. The point is located on the back of the neck, just above the hairline. Hold and press for about a minute. Then massage in small circles.
5. Ear Shenman
This point can help if you’re feeling overwhelmed or sad. It’s located in the cetner of the top section of your ear (just above the triangular part of the inside of your ear). Place your pointer finger on the Ear Shenman, and place your thumb on the same point on the back of your ear. Apply firm pressure and massage.
What is the theory behind the practice?
Traditional Chinese medical theory describes twelve major channels, or meridians, in the body that connect networks of organs. Chinese theory says that there is an invisible vital energy called qi (chi) that flows through these channels. If one of the channels is blocked or out of balance, illness can occur. Acupressure is the practice of pressings “acupoints” to release the blocked energy.
Many Western practitioners attribute acupressure results to other factors, such as reduced muscle tension, improved circulation, or stimulation of endorphins.
Western medical science does not currently have enough evidence to support the theories that acupressure is based on. However, there has been a long history of success for people using acupressure.
Acupressure is generally a very safe practice, but as always, be sure to check with your doctor to see if it is safe for you. People with cancer, arthritis, heart disease, or a chronic condition are urged to talk to a doctor before trying any therapy that involves moving joint and muscles, such as acupressure.
Amanda Ippolito-Autoimmune Allyby
Amanda is a junior at The College of New Jersey, pursuing a degree in journalism. She is from northern New Jersey but in the summer, she prefers to spend her time at the Jersey Shore. In her free time she likes to read, write, nap, do yoga, and hang out with friends. And her cat, Uno. She also plays way too many games on her iPhone. Amanda has been inspired to make a difference in the autoimmune community ever since her dad was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis five years ago.View all Amanda Ippolito posts.