What is acupressure?
Acupressure is a type of acupuncture, rooted in ancient Chinese medicine theory that has been around for over 2000 years. It’s a great option for those who are interested in the benefits of acupuncture without the use of a needle. Chinese medicine theory states that the body is made up of meridians.
Meridians flow throughout the entire body and are connected to all organs and tissues. Within these meridians, there are acupoints, which reside at the surface of the skin. When a particular acupoint is stimulated by applying pressure, it can promote wellness and alleviate symptoms. A meridian is chosen depending on the symptom you want to alleviate. Then, you pick a particular acupoint to which you apply pressure.
Applying pressure to a certain acupoint on a meridian can alleviate pain in the local area, as well as other parts of the body. For example, Zhong Zu, the acupoint that can be found in the groove between the 4th and 5th finger can help to alleviate headaches, upper back tension, and tension in the shoulders and neck.
Three acupoints to try:
Tai Chong, is commonly used to alleviate lower back pain, stress, headaches, anxiety, and insomnia. This acupoint is located on the top of your foot about 2 finger widths below the place where your big toe and your second toe meet. Using firm pressure, apply a deep massage with your fingers for about 4-5 seconds at a time.
The Jian Jing acupoint is located on the shoulder and is used to alleviate chronic headaches, neck pain or stiffness, shoulder pain and tension. (1) Pinch the muscle in the shoulder muscle with your thumb and middle finger. (2) Using your index finger, apply firm and downward pressure to the muscle for about 4-5 seconds. (3) Repeat as needed. (This exercise is thought to induce labor. Consult your physician before attempting.)
Zhong Zu is commonly used to treat temporal headaches, tension in the shoulders and neck, and upper back pain. You can find this acupoint in the groove between the 4th and 5th fingers behind the knuckles. Once you locate the acupoint, apply deep, firm pressure for 4-5 seconds and repeat as needed.
How to do acupressure correctly
It is important that you apply firm pressure when massaging each acupoint. It can be done by you or by someone else. Relaxation is a very important aspect of acupressure. Close your eyes, breathe deeply, and try to focus. Essential oils and aromatherapy are a great way to aid in relaxing the body. (Read our essential oil picks for aromatherapy here.)
These massages can be repeated as many times as you like throughout the day.