Using Acupressure to Calm the Mind, Relieve Stress and Improve Sleep
Looking to feel calm, soothe the mind, treat a headache and improve sleep? Acupressure can be an effective way to get some of the benefits of acupuncture when you aren’t able to come in to ORA for a treatment.
See below for a few of our favorite acupressure points.
DU 20 — Bai Hui — Hundred Convergences
Soothes the mind and the psyche.
This is the vertex point of the head, the zenith point of the body, and the most influential point of the skull and brain. If you go from the highest point of your ears and trace a line up to the top of your head—you’ll find it. Or, sometimes slightly to the rear of that spot, on a mound, or in a little hole that your finger falls into.
The name means ”One hundred convergences… or meetings,” because a number of meridians run through it, connect to it, or are influenced by it.
This point relieves the head and regulates the brain, and calms the shen (or spirit)—meaning it soothes the mind and the psyche. It’s also good for headaches.
Yintang — Hall of Impression
Calms the shen, opens the sinuses, treats headache and insomnia.
This is one of the most powerful points for calming the mind and treating insomnia. Being in the “Third Eye” spot (between the eyebrows) this point has a unique ability to arouse curiosity.
Acupuncture point names are often layered with meaning. They can simultaneously refer to the location (or how to locate), as well as the function. Yin tang means Hall of Impression, which many think refers to its effect on the eyes and the vision—as well as the brain.
It also refers to the location, which if you palpate the area on your forehead, you’ll feel a groove, or an ‘impression,’ which can be threaded with a needle to release the frontal suture of the skull. For this reason, it’s profoundly effective for frontal headaches, sinus congestion, and visual disturbances.
Ren 17 – Tan zhong – Center of the Chest
Guards and soothes the heart.
This point is at the center of the chest, and the connecting point of the Heart Protector (or Pericardium). It’s an influential point for the body’s chi, because it affects both the heart and the lungs. You can rub it or tap on it to relieve pressure in the chest, shortness of breath, of emotional agitation.
When the emotions are agitated, one of the best ways to use this point is to massage a drop or two of lavender oil into it, and then place one or both palms over the point—with a gentle but steady pressure and an intention of guarding and soothing the heart.
The idea is to support the function of the heart protector by creating an additional layer of protection and calm with the hands.
HT 4 – 7
Heart 4: Ling dao — Spirit Pathway
Heart 5: Tong li — Connecting Interior
Heart 6: Yin xi — Yin Accumulation
Heart 7: Shen men — Spirit Gate
This concentrated pathway of connected points can be referred to as the Spirit Path, as the name of Heart 4 alludes to. In medical point guides, you’ll find that they’re all indicated for cardiac pain and anxiety.
The nature of these points is to slowly come closer to the surface as the heart meridian travels out toward the end of the pinky finger. It’s a concentrated collection of meridian energy, and a useful area to massage to soothe the heart and relax the emotions.
To differentiate between them:
Heart 4: used more for moving energy and circulation.
Heart 7: used more for building and consolidating energy, and for calming things down when the heart has grown tired and anxious.
The points in between: useful examples of how textbook point locations are useful and necessary, but sometimes the point is where you ‘feel it’, in a hole that your finger falls into, or a sore tender spot.
So, run your finger along this line of points. Find the spot that feels right for you, and apply some gentle pressure with a clear intention. Pay attention to it (with no expectations) and observe how your body reacts. The heart meridian also responds very well to rose oil—so massage some into this area and let your emotions and mind relax.