How to reduce stress with at-home acupressure and clinical acupuncture

We’ve been adjusting to this “new normal” for almost 2 years now, but the constant state of change keeps creating undue stress that we can’t seem to escape.  Whether we recognize it or not, stress brings added consequences – an imbalance of our emotional, mental and physical health.

The underlying principle of Chinese medicine is balance. Good health is manifested when Qi (our vital Life Force) is flowing smoothly and freely in our bodies. It’s when one’s body becomes out of balance and the normal movement of Qi is interrupted or blocked, that physical and mental troubles begin, from minor colds and insomnia to panic attacks. The fundamental goal in Traditional Chinese Medicine is to restore circulation and thus enable the body to produce and maintain an abundant supply of Qi. In Chinese Medicine, there is a saying, “Where there is pain there is no circulation. Where there is circulation there is no pain.” 

Right now it feels like most of us are overstimulated and this keeps us in the “fight or flight” state. In this sympathetic nervous system reaction, we can’t heal. Acupuncture is one way to stimulate the parasympathetic nervous system in treatments to restore us into the “rest and digest” stage.  Ultra-fine needles are inserted into the body at specific acupuncture points along different meridians or channels.  This stimulates Qi flow and the parasympathetic nervous system like a reset button.  

Acupressure is using pressure on the same points on the body that are used in acupuncture, just without the needles. This can be done at home using one or two fingers to stimulate circulation with steady pressure and small circular motions.  There are some amazing acupressure points located on your body that can help calm the mind and the body from the buildup of pandemic stress and fatigue. Any tenderness when pressing these points means that you’ve found the right location.

Large Intestine 4 “He Gu” – This point is located between the thumb and index finger on the webbing of your hand, closer to the metacarpal bone of the index finger. This point is great to relieve stress, muscle tension and headaches.

Pericardium 6 “Nei Guan” – This point is located two thumb widths from the inner wrist crease, between the two tendons.  This point is great for calming the mind, and opening up the chest to relieve heart palpitations and chest congestion.

Stomach 36 “Zu San Li” – This point is located four finger widths down from the bottom of your kneecap along the outer border of your shin. Applying pressure at this point can help to increase energy, relieve fatigue, and help with digestive upset.

Liver 3 “Tai Chong”– This point is located in the webbing between the big toe and the second toe. This is a great point to use if you are feeling irritable and frustrated. 

Article submitted by Yvonne Sui BSc. Biology, Diploma in Acupuncture