Nourish your life with this guide for self-massage of acupressure points
When it comes to Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), one of the more popular components is acupuncture. But have you heard of acupressure?
Dr. Christine Grisham, a TCM practitioner at the George Wellbeing Center shares her expertise on acupressure, and how you can get started with your own practice:
What is acupressure?
Acupressure is self-massage of energy lines and points on the surface of the skin (acupoints). Unlike acupuncture, no needles are involved.
There are lots of acupoints on your body—each located on a channel of energy. Western scientific research has identified that most acupoints have higher electrical activity than other places on the body. Stimulating these acupoints with self-massage (acupressure) or the insertion of thin needles (acupuncture) can provide a wide variety of benefits, like reducing pain, increasing energy, promoting relaxation and assisting with healing.
Here are some easy-to-find acupoints:
- Immediately under the collar bone, on the front of the chest—can help improve breathing and calm the mind
- On the underside of the wrist (just beneath the palm), below the pinky finger—can help calm the mind
- On the top of the foot, between the first and second toes, about an inch towards your ankle—can help improve mood
- On the top of the hand, between the thumb and first finger—can help alleviate headaches and toothaches
- Behind the ear lobe, about an inch back toward the base of the skull—can help promote relaxation and sleeping
To get started with acupressure
- Find a comfortable seat and settle in, breathing deeply several times. Try to do this in a quiet room, free from distractions. You can also play relaxing music.
- Think about your intention—are you hoping to relax enough to go to sleep? Hoping to relax from a stressful event? Other?
- Gently press down on the acupoint for a few seconds, then gently rotate your thumb on the point.
- Repeat this on each side of the body at the same spot for 30-60 seconds.
- The points may often feel tender when you press on them. That’s OK, just be gentle, and often the tenderness will soon disappear.
- Be sure to listen to your own body’s needs. Experiment with your technique, pressure, and how long and how often you press the points. There’s no “wrong” way to do acupressure.
- Do this whenever you’re stressed, up to several times a day. If you have any skin wounds, it’s best to avoid acupressure until you are healed.