Acupressure is a healing art based on energy pathways in the body called meridians. Acupressure points reflect those areas used in acupuncture. Scientific study has only begun to investigate this 5,000-year-old healing art but a couple of small studies have found that acupressure can relieve anxiety.
A 2003 study published in "Anesthesiology" found that acupressure applied to the ears relieved anxiety in adult patients during ambulance transport to the hospital. In 2008, researchers Shu-Ming Wang and Zeev N. Kain tested acupressure on children about to undergo endoscopic procedures, reports MedPage Today. Acupressure reduced anxiety in children by 9 percent while anxiety rose in children that received a sham acupressure treatment.
The Institure for Intergrative Healthcare Studies recommends using your thumb at a 90 degree angle. It says to press gradually, hold for a few seconds, and then gradually release pressure. If you experience pain, keep applying firm pressure until backed-up energy releases. You can also massage the area with the flat part of your thumb.
Two anti-anxiety acupressure points associate with your wrist. The first point is known as the "Mind Door" or "Spirit Gate" and lays along the outer edge of the crease of where your palm meets your arm, just inside your wrist bone. The second acupressure point lays two thumb-widths from your wrist crease between the two tendons that run along your forearm.
Hands and Ears
The "Lesser Palace" is an anti-anxiety acupressure point between the upper two creases of your hand. Press between the bones of your ring finger and pinky finger to open up energy flow and relieve anxiety.
Your ears contain many points used in acupressure and reflexology. Rubbing your ears for a few minutes a few times a day can help relax you. Rub them from top to bottom with your thumb and index fingers and gently pull your ears. Use your index fingers to trace the inner folds of your ears and the backs of your ears.
There are two acupressure points that relieve anxiety along your feet. The first is called "Gushing Spring" and is located on the sole of your foot. Trace over the ball of your foot back from between your second and third toes until you reach the natural depression that occurs about 1/3rd of the way along your sole.
Find the second anti-anxiety acupressure point along the top of your foot between the first and second bones of your toes. This acupressure point is known as the "Great Surge" and lays about two thumb-widths from the toe webbing.
The "Hall of Impression" is an acupressure point that lies between your eyebrows, just above the bridge of your nose. Applying pressure here can reduce anxiety and relieve headaches. The "Courtyard of the Spirit" is a second point that is centered just inside your hairline.
- "Anesthesiology;" Auricular Acupressure as a Treatment for Anxiety in Prehospital Transport Settings; A Kober et al; June, 2003
- MedPage Today: Acupressure Relieves Children's Preoperative Stress; Crystal Phend; October, 2008
- Institute for Integrative Healthcare Studies: Ten Highly Effective Acupressure Points; September, 2005
- Chinese Holistic Health Remedies: Acupressure and Reflexology for Anxiety: It's Easy and It Works! 2011
- Yunker Acupuncture: Acupressure for Anxiety; Jessica Yunker; May, 2009