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Acupressure to Relieve Anxiety

As we begin transition from winter to spring, it is common that patients begin to experience some anxiety. Here are some acupressure points you can stimulate to help relieve your anxiety and help return your body to a more calm state.


Points (F) — Third Eye Point (Yin Tang)
Location: Directly between the eyebrows, in the indentation where the bridge of the nose meets the forehead. Benefits: Calms the body to relieve nervousness.

Points (G) — Sea of Tranquility
Location: On the center of the breastbone, three thumb widths up from the base of the bone. Benefits: Relieves nervousness, anxiety, chest tension, anguish, depression, hysteria, and other emotional imbalances.

Acupuncture For Anxiety

Anxiety disorders affect about 40 million American adults age 18 and older. In a given year, it affects twice as many women as men. In Western medicine, Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) is a psychological and physiological state characterized by excessive and exaggerated anxiety and worry about everyday life events with no obvious reasons for worry. The worry is often unrealistic or out of proportion for the situation. Daily life becomes a constant state of worry, fear and dread.

In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), anxiety is viewed not as a brain dysfunction, but more as an imbalance of the inner meridians. Worry, dwelling, or excessive mental work can effect the Spleen meridian. Mental restlessness, depression, insomnia, feelings of despair are symptoms of a disorder with the Heart meridian. Anger, resentment, frustration, irritability, and bitterness are associated with the Liver meridian. With the Lung meridian we see more grief and sadness. And finally, an imbalance with the Kidney meridian, will reflect a person that is fearful, insecure, isolated and has weak willpower. In all anxiety cases, the Shen or spirit is disturbed, so acupuncture treatments are focused on harmonizing the Shen. In TCM, anxiety is usually caused by an imbalance in the Spleen and Heart meridians.

When treating anxiety, weekly acupuncture treatments are necessary until the patient feels the anxiety is either gone or at a very low level. It can take 4-6 weekly treatments depending on the person and the anxiety level. Treatments are then spaced out further to monthly or quarterly to help maintain a calm state. In addition, activities such as Qi Gong, Yoga or mediation are excellent forms of mind-body exercises that can improve the ability to control both anxiety and depression.

Acupressure for Instant Anxiety Relief

Acupressure is an ancient Chinese healing method that involves putting pressure with the fingers or the hand on certain points of the body. The pressure can unblock the flow of Qi to release tension and restore inner harmony. The great thing about acupressure is it is something you can do on your own to promote health, relieve stress and prevent disease. 

Whether you are at home, stuck in traffic or stressed out at the office, acupressure for anxiety will provide instant relief. Here are some points you can massage on your own to reduce anxiety, stress and overall tension.

PC 6– Starting from the wrist, measure down with three fingers as shown in the picture to the right. Where your third finger touches the middle of your wrist is the acupoint. Take your thumb and apply firm pressure to this point until you feel some mild discomfort. Only apply enough pressure to interrupt the normal blood flow but not too much that it causes pain. Hold this pressure point and gently knead your thumb in a tight circular motion for about 2 minutes. Do this to both wrists and you will feel your anxiety descend immediately. This point is also good for nausea! 

HT7– Apply pressure with your thumb at the point where your wrist forms a crease with your hand. Hold the acupressure point for about 2 minutes, applying a generous amount of pressure. This point is good for relieving tension.

K1– This is my favorite point especially at night when I want a good night’s sleep. In a sitting position, cross one leg over your opposite leg and rest your foot on your knee. Start with your thumb between your 2nd and 3rd toes and draw a straight line down until you are about a 1/3 of the way down the foot. Push firmly on the center of your foot (see picture). Hold this pressure point and knead for at least 2 minutes and repeat on the other foot. This is a great point for anxiety and relaxation.

Ears– Gently massage your ears with your thumb and forefinger. There is no exact pressure point so simply give yourself a relaxing ear massage. Pull down gently on the lobes and rub the inner surface of the ear for about 2-3 minutes. When you relax and massage your ear, you will feel soothed and calm all over.

Coping with Stress

I decided my next blog post should be about stress as I was feeling a lot of it this week. We all have stress but does anyone really know what to do about it? We all come to accept a certain level of stress in our everyday lives because we think it is just part of how our modern life is meant to be. In a way this is true because there will always be things in our lives we can’t change even though we wish we could. Stress is always going to be a part of our lives.

Our bodies have certain mechanisms for responding to moments of danger as a means of survival. When we are stressed, our fight or flight mechanisms kicks in so we can escape danger. The adrenal glands send out cortisol which sets up a whole chain reaction. In order to flee, our muscles need nourishment, so blood is taken away from digestion and sent to the muscles.  The muscles tense up and you get ready to run- your neck tenses, shoulder hunch up, fists clench, knees bend and your back arches like the start of a relay race. Your brain stops thinking and goes into reaction mode. Your reproductive organs stop functioning because they are not needed. This is all a very good thing if we were being chased by a mountain lion BUT what if there is no danger? Our body will tell us to run while we are sitting in traffic, fighting with our spouse, or trying to frantically finish up work before a deadline. That shot of cortisol has no outlet. All of the same physiologic things happen to our body but we don’t actually run or fight.

Over time, chronic stress begins to take a toll on our body. Ulcers, digestive problems, sexual problems, sleep problems, weight control issues, high blood pressure and anxiety are some of the many problems that come from chronic stress.  This being said, it makes it even more critical that we find ways to cope with stress. There are many choices but three basics help everyone: cardio exercise, deep breathing and relaxation.

Regular cardiovascular exercise disperses the cortisol because it gives our bodies the physical release it needs to eliminate it. Deep breathing is such an easy thing to do and really helps. Deep breathing helps release the muscle tension by moving oxygen and blood through the tissues and clearing the cortisol out.  Conscious relaxation exercises will also help calm you down. You can relax with a cup of tea, light a candle, listen to soft music, or take a bath- whatever you find helps release the tension.

If those things don’t help, it is time to seek professional help to get a handle on the stress and keep you balanced. Acupuncture treatments can help keep you centered and balanced as well as massage or supplements. Stress is always going to be a part your life but there are ways to make it a smaller part.