Acupressure is an ancient Chinese healing method that involves applying pressure to certain points on the body to relieve symptoms. These "meridians" or pressure points carry energy throughout the body and connect to the brain. Each point correlates with a specific organ or part of the body.
Similar to acupuncture, where the same points are used but with needles, acupressure simply uses gentle but firm pressure and is effective for self-treatment of tension-related health problems of the body, mind and spirit. It can relax muscles and promote a balance of chi, or life force, according to Chinese healers.
By opening healing energy through these acupressure points you can relieve stiffness — especially in your neck — pain, fatigue and other disorders. Here are five health issues that acupressure can help heal and how and where to apply the pressure.
Try easing nausea and morning sickness by putting pressure on your wrist. (Photo: AFPics/Shutterstock)
You can improve mild nausea or even morning sickness by trying acupressure techniques. In fact, acupuncture is often used for nausea or vomiting related to chemotherapy. For mild nausea, use your middle and index fingers to press firmly on the groove between the two large tendons on the inside of your wrist that start at the base of your palm. Special wristbands to help relieve nausea are also sold over the counter. When the band is worn around the wrist, it presses on this pressure point to help relieve queasiness.
Put gentle pressure at the base of your skull to relieve headache and tension. (Photo: iLight foto/Shutterstock)
Below the base of the skull, in the hollows on both sides of the neck, lies the occipital ridge. Using thumbs, fingers or knuckles, press with both hands underneath the base of your skull on both sides, about three inches apart. Gradually apply pressure into these hollows while tilting your head back slowly. Breathe in deeply while holding for two minutes. These pressure points can relieve headache, headache tension and restore clarity and alertness.
Putting pressure on the bridge of your nose and your temples can help with nasal congestion. (Photo: Image Point Fr/Shutterstock)
The spot near the bridge of the nose and eye socket is most affected by nasal congestion. Use the side of your thumb to press this spot for 1-2 minutes. Then, press both the areas near the eye sockets with the tips of your thumbs for 3-5 minutes. Pressing these points at the temple at the same time creates the desired relief. If pressure is applied properly you will relieve pain and congestion.
For sinus problems and severe pain, hold the joint between the thumb and the index finger, pressing very firmly. Hold for two minutes. Switch hands for optimal effect. This will reduce the irritation and pain in the nose. Pregnant women should avoid this point as its stimulation is said to cause premature contractions.
Calm nervous stomach anxiety by using acupressure on your wrist and near your elbow crease. (Photo: Image Point Fr/Shutterstock)
There are several pressure points that correlate with relieving anxiety in different parts of the body. On the shoulders, midway between the base of the neck and the outside of the shoulders, about a half inch below the top of the shoulders, press with three fingers quite firmly to relieve nervous tension and stiff necks.
For nervous stomach anxiousness, press on the inside of the arm at the lower end of the elbow crease when the arm is bent. Switch arms. For nervousness and emotional imbalance, press on the little finger side of the forearm at the crease of the wrist, hold for several minutes then switch arms.
Using pressure points on your feet and on the top of your heat may help ease fatigue. (Photo: lunapiena/Shutterstock)
For general tiredness and chronic fatigue, try several pressure points to restore energy. On the center of the top of your head, try pressing firmly with your index and middle fingers together for 3-5 minutes. On the sole of your foot, in the little V-spot where the ball of your big toe and your other toes meet, take thumb and massage in a circular motion with firm pressure. And on the outside of your shin, about three fingers down from your kneecap, use fingers and massage in a circular motion using steady pressure.
A study published in the journal Alternative Therapies of Health and Medicine found that people undergoing dialysis for kidney failure who were treated with acupressure three times weekly for a month had lower levels of self-reported fatigue compared to other patients not receiving acupressure.
Since acupressure is a way to self-relieve some health problems, it may be an easy and effective treatment for a variety of issues.
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