When you can’t get to your acupuncturist, there is a treatment you can do at home for reducing anxiety and symptoms of stress in the body that relies on the same points we use in clinic.
Just like acupuncture, acupressure stimulates points across the body that are associated with specific signs and symptoms along the channels or meridians according to Chinese medicine. Gently pressing these points a few times a day will contribute to a sense of wellbeing and help to take the edge off. More at once is not better, short sessions more often are recommended for best results.
Engaging the breath will also stimulate the body to correct balance throughout, energizing and sedating accordingly.
When locating points, feel for a tender spot or a place when your finger seems to dip slightly. Most acupuncture points are noticeable once you find them! Apply gentle but slightly firm pressure while breathing through your nose steadily, and exhaling through the mouth or nose.
It is best to use acupressure with the guidance of a practitioner or doctor when pregnant. Consult your practitioner for points that are appropriate for you!
The midpoint between the inner eyebrows.
This point calms the spirit, especially around insomnia, anxiety and agitation. Because of its association with the location above the pineal gland, gentle pressure here can help regulate circadian sleep cycles.
This is a great one to use with children, use a feather touch stroking upward.
Hold for a few seconds at a time with light pressure while focusing on your breath.
On the midline of the chest, level with the lower border of the 4th rib.
This point helps unbind the chest - we tend to pull inward to protect the heart in times of stress, discomfort, or grief, so this point can assist in opening up the lungs and heart. This can help when we feel like we can’t get a full breath. This point is also helpful for some digestive disorders like GERD or acid reflux, as well as heart palpitations.
Try this point when we need to fortify our boundaries. Take slow deep breaths while holding this point. Try slightly rolling your shoulders back and opening up.
To find this point, face your palm up and measure two-thumbs-width distance from the midpoint of your wrist crease towards your elbow.
PC6 calms the heart and spirit, but can also harmonize the stomach and is famous for alleviating nausea.
This point can also assist with insomnia to promote deeper sleep, improve poor memory and ease apprehension.
Excellent for nausea during pregnancy, treatments that create nausea, or seasickness.
Hold gently and breathe until symptoms ease.
Find the top of your inner ankle, and measure four-fingers-width distance from there towards your knee. You will feel a bone (your tibia); this point is located just behind that bone.
This point treats insomnia caused by stress, as well as digestive distress.
In clinic, this point is widely used for all women’s health concerns and balancing hormones .
Can also help with ‘over-thinking’, which is associated with an imbalance in the Spleen in Chinese medicine.
Place your three middle finger pads on the spot and apply consistent pressure.
Contra-indicated during pregnancy.
Between the big toe and second toe, start from the webbing and work back until the two bones almost meet (about 1.5”). Usually a bit tender.
A main point for 'soothing the Liver' according to Chinese medicine, which is indicated if you find yourself irritable, frustrated, or sighing frequently.
LV3 also benefits the epigastrium and lateral costal regions - a stuffy constricted feeling in this area.
The point is key for regulating menstruation, and travels up the channel to help clear the head and eyes, especially 'heat' symptoms.
Gently massage the entire channel here (see black line), and gently hold the LV3 point.
LARGE INTESTINE 4
Using the tip of your thumb on top and your middle finger underneath the webbing between the thumb and first finger.
Excellent point for headaches but also for smooth flow of Qi according to Chinese medicine.
Utilized in clinic to relieve pain in the whole body, and it's especially useful when paired with Liver 3 (above). This combination is known as Two Gates or Four Gates (both sides).
Great for getting things moving, including for constipation. Massage with deeper pressure to get things moving - it might feel sore!
Contraindicated during pregnancy.
This point is found on the midline of the sole of the foot, a third of the way down from your toes and two thirds of the way up from your heel—right where the arch of the foot begins. Press down with your thumbs to activate the most grounding point on the body.
KD1 is very grounding, bringing energy down from the head, especially with dizziness and hot flushes.
This point calms the spirit, especially with insomnia.
At night, try a warm foot soak, massage the feet, and hold this point to encourage a good night's sleep - especially helpful for
staying asleep throughout the night.
One hand width below the lower border of the knee, one finger-breadth lateral to the tibia bone in the leg when you slide downward.
This point is widely used in clinic to energize, boost the immune system (Wei Qi), and help with any digestive disorders.
It is great for all stomach disorders - stomach pain, abdominal distention, indigestion, constipation, and diarrhea.
ST36 works well with Spleen6 to alleviate a heavy feeling in the limbs or 'dampness' and edema.
This is the most well-known point in Chinese medicine for assisting in energy, named Walk Three Miles for its ability to boost stamina.
Virtual sessions are available - book a complimentary consultation to set up your own customized session. These points are not a substitute for medical advice.
Thanks for stopping by, I hope you enjoy this home self-care practice!
Brooke Taylor, LAc, MAcOM