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Holistic-online.com Stress Management

[Stress Home Page][Holistic-online Home]

Acupressure

Practitioners of acupressure recommend that you identify the cause of your stress, which is essential for any therapy to be truly effective. In addition to practicing acupressure, create a strategy to manage stress through exercise, meditation, and massage.

Before you begin, make sure that you are wearing loose, comfortable clothing-loosen your collar and belt if necessary-so that your circulation is free. If you have long nails, or if you find that your hands and fingers are not strong enough or cramp during a session, you can use a pencil eraser, golf ball, or other firm, blunt object to apply pressure on the points.

There are several ways in which you can do acupressure, and you'll need to experiment to discover what feels best. Firm pressure using fingers, palms, or knuckles means applying pressure steadily for one to several minutes. Another technique is to knead the muscles with your fingers or heels of your hands, the motion is similar to kneading dough. Rubbing an acupressure point will increase circulation, and quick tapping with your fingertips or fists stimulates the muscles.

You will experience different sensations for each point pressed, and while you may feel some soreness at particular points, you should not feel extreme pain.

Some areas of the body can withstand greater pressure than others. For instance, the face is very sensitive, whereas the shoulders can take more kneading and pressure.

Acupressure is most beneficial when practiced daily, though even two or three times each week can help relieve tension and ailments.

When you begin practicing acupressure, apply pressure for one to three minutes and gradually work up to holding points longer. You should not press a point for longer than ten minutes and should limit each area of the body to fifteen minutes. Working on a given area too long can cause too much stimulation, resulting in headache or nausea.

Stress-related tension often builds in the head, neck, shoulders, and hips.

Head

Yintang, also called the Third Eye Point, is helpful in alleviating tension headaches and eyestrain. It is located between your eyebrows, in the indentation between the bridge of your nose and forehead. Use your middle finger to apply gentle steady pressure on the point for one minute. As you apply the pressure, focus on slow, deep breathing. Release the pressure after one minute, let your face muscles relax, and repeat the exercise.

Neck

Points located on both sides of the body, spaced a couple of inches apart, at the base of the skull between the two vertical neck muscles are effective for relieving tension in the neck.  Sit comfortably and drop your head slightly. Holding the back of your head with both hands, use your thumbs to apply firm pressure to the two spots. Gently drop your head back into the pressure. When you feel a pulse on both sides, slowly release the pressure.

Shoulders

To release tension in your shoulders, press a point located in the highest point of your shoulder muscle. Sit in a comfortable chair and allow your body to relax. Let your head drop forward, breathe deeply, and curving your fingers, apply firm pressure to the point referred to as CB 21 for one minute. (Caution: Pregnant women should not use this point.)

Hips

Points CB 30 and B 53, located in the pelvic area, help alleviate stress-related tensions. CB 30 is in the center of each buttock, behind the top part of the upper thighbone. B 53 is level with the second sacral hole, about three inches from either side of the spine. To use these two points, stand comfortably with your hands on your hips. Your thumbs should firmly press B 53 for one minute. Slowly release the pressure, make fists with your hands, and move them slightly down and outward to press CB30 again for one minute.

A few other points have to do with your sense of well- being. They include the Central Treasury Point; the Chest Center; and the Center of Power. Using these points also can help you manage frustration, tension, and irritability caused by stress.

Lu 1. Central Treasury

Pressing this point will relieve chest tension and breathing problems, as well as emotional tension. It is located on the outside of the upper chest, at the level of the first intercoastal space (that is, below the first rib) and six inches from the midline of the body. To use Lu 1, sit in a comfortable chair, with your back straight and head level, Use your thumbs to find the muscles at the point, and press for one minute, breathing deeply as you do so.

CV 17. Chest Center

This point is good for treating anxiety, nervousness, irritability, insomnia, and depression. It is located in the middle of the breastbone, at the level of the fourth intercoastal space (that is, below the fourth rib). Use your fingers to press this point.

CV 12: Center of Power

To relieve emotional stress, stomach pain, indigestion, and headaches due to stress, press CV 12. It is located halfway between the base of the breastbone and navel, right in the center of the body. You can use the fingers of both hands to press this point gradually, leaning into the pressure. Apply for one minute, breathing deeply, and release. (Caution: Do not use if you have a serious illness; do not use on a full stomach, and hold no longer than two minutes.)

Related Topics: Shiatsu, Acupuncture

Next Topic: Alexander Technique

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