It can be easy to forget just how much our mental state can affect our physical well-being. In traditional Chinese medicine, this link is evident in treatment strategies, but it's also true that when we feel unwell, we don't always think about looking after our minds. It works both ways.
In February, the month between winter and spring, it's common to feel anxious. Beyond the seasons, the coronavirus pandemic has also led to a measured increase in anxiety levels in many people around the world.
So, whether anxiety is new to you or you know it as an old friend, I wanted to suggest five simple acupuncture points you can administer to yourself to help relieve some of this mental tension and, hopefully, improve your physical health.
All these points can be accessed while sitting or lying down. I recommend that you use your thumb on each acupuncture point, gradually increasing the pressure until you find a point where there is some resistance but no pain.
Maintain this pressure while making small circular movements with your thumb to massage the point. Breathe slowly for 10 minutes, then release the point. If you are pregnant or have a pre-existing medical condition, please take precautions and contact me before using this treatment.
Point 1: Shen men or Heart 7
This point is located on the inside of the wrist, in the crease on the side of the little finger. This point is ideal if you have trouble falling asleep due to anxiety, or if you wake up in the middle of the night feeling anxious. Massage of this point calms the heart and the anxiety that accompanies it.
Point 2: The third eye or Yintang
Well-known to yogis, this point is located between the eyebrows. It's another good point for insomnia. It is located just above the pineal gland, which helps regulate melatonin. In addition to insomnia, this point is known to relieve feelings of restlessness and contribute to general emotional well-being.
Point 3: Pericardium six
This point is also located on the inside of the forearm, about five centimetres from the wrist crease, in the middle of the forearm. Although often used for nausea, it is also an excellent point for opening the chest and heart, countering the contracting energy of anxiety.
Point 4: Center of the chest or Conception Vessel 17
This point is located in the center of the chest, between the nipples. For many people, anxiety can translate into a feeling of tightness in the chest or shortness of breath. This point relaxes and opens the chest and relaxes the diaphragm.
Point 5: One hundred meetings or governing vessel 20
To find this point, use both hands to draw a line from the top of the ears to the center of the top of the head.This point can help combat racing thoughts and existential anxiety.
For those who feel anxiety in their body by clenching their jaws, this is a good point for releasing that anxiety. This point can also increase yang energy, helping to combat depression and sadness.
Practising acupressure on yourself is an excellent daily exercise, and these points are a good starting point for combating anxiety.If your anxiety persists, or if you'd like more support, you can always contact me to ask questions or make an appointment.