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12 Best Acupressure Points for Sleep and Insomnia

12 Best Acupressure Points for Sleep and Insomnia

Did you know that acupressure can help to improve sleep and fight insomnia? In fact, acupressure addresses sleep disorders both directly and indirectly. By massaging certain acupoints before bedtime, you can succeed in falling asleep faster and have a higher quality of sleep without the need for sedatives.

Sleep disorders affect the ability to sleep well on a regular basis. Most commonly caused by stress and certain health problems, sleep disorders are becoming increasingly common, with more than 75 percent of Americans aged 20 to 59 reporting sleep difficulties regularly.

A general lack of sleep is dangerous and can lead to various mental and physical problems such as cognitive and memory impairment, depression, loss of libido, serious cardiovascular health problems, hypertension, diabetes, and other unwanted consequences.

Therefore, addressing sleep disorders which lower your daily recommended amount of sleep is paramount. While consulting a healthcare professional is the best first step, acupressure can help to improve your ability to fall asleep and stay asleep when practiced regularly and lower your dependence on sedatives.

In this article, we will look at sleep disorders, the common causes behind them, and how acupressure can help to improve sleep and fight insomnia.

The Symptoms, the Types of Sleep Disorders, and the Causes

There are different types of sleep disorders which may reduce the amount of quality sleep while also making you sleepy throughout the day. Although the symptoms of a sleep disorder can vary depending on the severity and type of sleep disorder, they generally include:

  • Difficulty falling or staying asleep;
  • Daytime fatigue;
  • Strong need for naps during the day;
  • Anxiety or irritability;
  • Lack of concentration;
  • Impaired work or school performance;
  • Weight gain; and
  • Depression.

Sleep disorders can occur because of a variety of circumstances and health conditions. The factors which can cause sleep disorders vary between:

  • Physical (such as pain);
  • Medical (such as asthma);
  • Psychiatric (such as stress, anxiety, and depression); 
  • Environmental (such as light, noise, or extreme temperatures);
  • Age-related (young age and old age can affect sleep);
  • Lifestyle-related (coffee, cigarettes, and alcohol); and
  • Medication-related (drugs that cause sleeplessness or daytime fatigue).

Below, we will look at the some of the most common sleep disorders, and the causes that lie behind each of them.

Insomnia

Insomnia is characterized with trouble falling asleep or waking up frequently during the night or early in the morning. It ultimately results in reduced sleep time and can affect your day-to-day functioning.

Insomnia can be transient, lasting for just a few nights at a time; intermittent, occurring periodically; and chronic, which happens on a regular basis for at least a month.

The causes behind insomnia vary greatly and contribute to different types of insomnia. So, jetlag, certain illnesses, stress, drinking too much coffee or alcohol, smoking cigarettes, or taking medications which disrupt sleep, can all lead to short-term insomnia.

Long-term insomnia can be caused by chronic stress, anxiety, depression, and other sleep or mood disorders.

Circadian Rhythm Disorders

The circadian rhythm is the body’s internal clock which dictates the sleep/wake cycles among other things. Exercise and the presence of light, along with certain habits and circumstances, can move this clock forward or backward, resulting in disrupted sleep.

The circadian sleep disorders include:

  • Jet lag;
  • Adjustments to shift work;
  • Delayed sleep phase syndrome (going to bed and getting up too late); and
  • Advanced sleep phase syndrome (going to bed and getting up too early).

Snoring and Obstructive Sleep Apnea

Snoring and sleep apnea are the result of an obstruction in the airways. This blockage can sometimes occur as a result of allergies, asthma, or nasal deformities. However, the main culprit behind sleep apnea is the fact that the throat muscles relax too much, thus blocking the free passage of air into the lungs.

Obstructive sleep apnea causes you to wake up during the night. This happens in response to the body’s increased effort to overcome the obstruction of the airway. Needless to say, this condition lowers the quality and quantity of your sleep.

Parasomnias

This is a class of sleep disorders which cause abnormal movements and behaviors during sleep. These can make you wake up either directly or indirectly and can affect the quality of sleep. Parasomnias include:

  • Sleepwalking;
  • Sleep talking;
  • Groaning;
  • Nightmares and night terrors;
  • Bedwetting; and
  • Teeth grinding or jaw clenching.

The causes behind each of these sleep disorders vary from psychological to environmental.

Sleep Changes During Pregnancy

Due to hormonal changes and varying psychological states, pregnancy can have an impact on sleep. During the first trimester of pregnancy, the hormonal changes can cause fatigue. However, toward the end of pregnancy, women can find it difficult to sleep because of a range of reasons such as:

  • Uncomfortable size of the abdomen;
  • Excitement;
  • Anxiety;
  • Worry; and
  • Vivid dreams.

If you have difficulty sleeping during pregnancy, it is best to consult an acupressure specialist to determine if acupressure is the right health practice for you. Generally, acupressure is to be avoided during pregnancy as certain acupoints may induce labor.

How Acupressure Can Help with Sleep and Insomnia

Acupressure stems from Chinese traditional medicine. It is a non-invasive, safe, and effective method for the treatment of various physical and psychological ailments which is based on the principles of acupuncture. 

In terms of sleep, it addresses many physical and mental aspects which can interfere with it. It can help you to fall asleep more easily and sleep better once you do, as the sleep-related acupoints serve to calm the mind and the body.

Although it is an ancient practice, it has not been until recently that the scientific community started to confirm the effects of acupressure on insomnia. Ranging from children all the way to cancer patients and the elderly, this technique has been shown to improve the general quality of sleep and reduce the need for sedatives.

A recent study, for example, looked at how acupressure affected insomnia in adolescents at the age of around 15 years old. The researchers found that acupressure helps not only to fall asleep more easily, but also to remain asleep efficiently.

Another study confirmed the same effectiveness on cancer-induced insomnia, with 80% of the patients reporting an improvement in the quality of sleep after a two-week treatment.

The elderly can also benefit from the effectiveness of acupressure when it comes to improving the quality of sleep. One study confirmed that after treating older adults three days per week for four weeks, the participants saw significant improvements in sleep quality, sleep duration, sleep efficiency, sleep disturbance, sleep latency, and daily performance.

There is a growing body of research which has investigated the effectiveness of acupressure on sleep and insomnia, and the scientific community is still expanding their knowledge on this topic. However, they all agree that acupressure is an excellent non-invasive method which can help you to fight insomnia and achieve better sleep.

Acupoints Related to Sleep and Insomnia

There are several acupoints which, when massaged, can help to fight insomnia and improve sleep. They work by addressing the physical and mental aspects which affect sleep. If your sleep disturbances are caused by pains resulting from headaches and migraines or by gastrointestinal issues, check out our other posts here and here to learn how acupressure can help. 

The Third Eye Point (GV-24.5)


Image credit: 
Modern Reflexology

This acupoint is one of the best acupressure points for sleep apnea and sleep disorders caused by a stressed, irritated mind. It helps to calm the mind, relax the central nervous system, relieve anxiety, depression, fear, panic attacks, and insomnia. It is also excellent for sinusitis.

It is located between the eyebrows, where the bridge of the nose connects to the forehead. 

Vital Diaphragm (BL-38)


Image credit: 
Modern Reflexology

These acupoints are among the most important acupoints for improving sleep and fighting insomnia. Stimulating them helps in balancing emotions of anxiety, stress, fear, and grief, which hinder sleep.

The points are located at the heart level on the back, between the spine and the shoulder blade on each side. To apply acupressure on these points, place two tennis balls on the floor side by side and lie on them so that they are placed between your shoulder blades.

The Wind Mansion (GV-16)


Image credit: 
Acupressurepoints.org

Stimulating this acupressure point can help to relieve insomnia and sleep disorders caused by stress, mania, palpitations, fear, and suicidal thoughts. It also helps with headache and earache, throat swelling, eye problems, asthma, and other conditions.

This acupoint is located at the center of the back of the head, in the hollow under the base of the skull. 

Gates of Consciousness (GB-20)


Image credit: 
Acupressurepointsguide.com

These acupoints are good for relieving insomnia and disturbed sleep, migraines, headaches, low energy, fatigue, blurred vision, as well as the symptoms of the cold and flu.

They are located at the base of the skull, in the hollow between the vertical neck muscles.

Heavenly Pillar (BL-10)


Image credit:
 Acupressure.com.au

These acupressure points are excellent in the treatment of headaches, neck pain, and dizziness, and play a significant role in relieving insomnia, stress, and exhaustion, bringing relaxation and calming the thoughts. They are also effective in the treatment of pains in the shoulders and back, nasal congestion, sore throat, and skin problems.

They are located on the thick muscles on the back of the neck, precisely two fingers below the base of the skull. 

Spirit Gate (HT-7)


Image credit: 
Miridia Tech

This acupressure point helps in relieving insomnia caused by emotional issues, anxiety, overexcitement, and cold sweats. It is also good for irritability, chest pain, cardiac pain, palpitations, and hypertension.

It is located at the wrist crease, on the radial side of the flexor carpi ulnaris tendon, between the ulna and pisiform bones.

Inner Gate (PC-6)


Image credit: 
Explore IM

Well known for treating nausea and vomiting, this acupoint also helps to relieve insomnia by reducing anxiety, indigestion, and palpitations. It is also beneficial in the treatment of chest congestion, cardiac pain, depression, irritability, cough, asthma, dizziness, and other health issues.

It is located at an approximately three-fingers length above the wrist crease on the inner side of the arm.

Sea of Tranquility (CV-17)


Image credit: 
Modern Reflexology

This acupoint is good for relieving insomnia caused by anxiety, nervousness, and chest congestion. It can also help in the treatment of asthma, cough, palpitations, and breast issues.

It is located in the middle of the chest, two thumb widths above the base of the breastbone.

Three yin intersection (SP-6)


Image credit: 
MiridiaTech

Although it is generally used to treat issues related to the genital area, such as menstrual problems, difficult labor, genital pain, and others, this acupoint is also effective against insomnia. Do not stimulate this point if you are pregnant, as it may induce labor.

To locate it, pace four finger widths up your leg above the highest point of your ankle on the inner side of the leg. It is located slightly behind the biggest leg bone (the tibia).

Shining Sea (KI-6)


Image credit: 
Eclectic Energies

Stimulating this acupoint helps with relieving insomnia, anxiety, and fear. It is also a good point for hypertension, digestive disorders, dry and sore throat, eye problems, irregular menstruation, and other issues.

You can find this point on the inside of the foot, in the slight depression directly below the middle of the ankle bone.

Extending Vessel (BL-62)


Image credit: 
Natural Health Zone

This acupoint is effective for combating sleeping disorders, insomnia, mania, chronic fatigue, headaches, neck rigidity, as well as lumbar and leg pain. Stimulate it in combination with Shining Sea (KI-62) for best effects.

You can locate it in the first indentation directly below the outer anklebone. 

Gushing Spring (KI-1)


Image credit: 
TheGoodNightCo

This acupressure point is good for night sweats, insomnia, palpitations, hot flashes, mania, and anxiety. It also helps with nausea, vomiting, dizziness, neck pain, headache, constipation, and other issues.

To locate it, curl your toes and feel for the depression under the ball of the foot between the second and the third toe bone. 

How to Perform Acupressure on Yourself Before Bed

If you want to fall asleep more easily, it is best to perform acupressure on one or more of the points we discussed some time before you go to bed. To apply successful acupressure, follow these instructions:

  1. Place your thumb or index finger on the acupoint and apply enough pressure to move the skin;
  2. Start massaging the point in slow, circular motions;
  3. With every few circles, increase the pressure gently, allowing the muscle tissue to relax. If there is no muscle tissue under the acupoint, increase the pressure slowly;
  4. You should not feel pain, but some dull aching sensation is normal;
  5. Keep applying pressure for at least a minute; and
  6. Repeat the procedure after a short break, if necessary.

Another great way to apply acupressure is to lie down on an acupressure mat for a few minutes before bed. Acupressure mats provide a great way to trigger multiple acupressure points on your body simultaneously.

Some Precautions Related to Acupressure

Acupressure is a non-invasive, safe method which anybody can practice on themselves. However, you should avoid acupressure self-treatment in the following cases:

  • If you are pregnant (as some acupoints can induce labor);
  • If the acupoint is under scar tissue;
  • If you have varicose veins;
  • If there is a wound, swelling, or other damage to the skin;
  • If you have rheumatoid arthritis, bone disease, or spinal injury;

It is best to consult an acupressure specialist before you start practicing acupressure on yourself. However, regardless of the effectiveness of this method, you should never replace it for professional medical care. Consult a healthcare professional if you believe you are suffering from a sleep disorder which has lasted for more than a few nights.

The Bottom Line

Acupressure is an excellent self-help tool for many physical and mental issues. It can be extremely effective when used to promote better sleep and calm the mind. When practicing acupressure for sleep, many of the points serve to address insomnia either directly or indirectly by treating the states which cause it.

So, the next time you are struggling to fall asleep, try massaging one of the acupoints for sleep and insomnia. However, do not underestimate the need for professional medical treatment if you are struggling with a sleep disorder which has lasted for a longer period.

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The Ultimate Guide to Acupressure Mats

The Ultimate Guide to Acupressure Mats

Acupuncture or acupressure treatments may not always be possible or convenient. Such treatments typically last an hour and benefits are generally not achievable after only one session. In general, the cost of a session ranges from $75 to more than $150.

Acupressure mats are an inexpensive and convenient alternative to expensive and time consuming acupressure or acupuncture sessions. High quality acupressure mats generally cost less than $100. You can use an acupressure mat anywhere and anytime, whether you are at home, the office, or traveling. Acupressure mats are also very easy to use; you only need to rest your body on the mat and let gravity and the mat's needles stimulate the various acupoints on your body.

What is an Acupressure Mat?

Acupressure mats are foam or fibre mats that have thousands of acupoint needles generally grouped in discs and securely placed on top. The plastic acupoint discs are generally specially designed and positioned to stimulate various points on the body. Acupressure mats come in body-length sizes to ensure that they target many acupoints in the body. Smaller-sized mats and pillows are also available to target specific regions of the body.

Acupressure mats are based on the principles of acupuncture, one of the methods of treatment in traditional Chinese medicine that has been practiced for thousands of years. Acupuncture is based on the concept that the body contains thousands of acupoints. When these acupoints are stimulated it closes or opens the chi (the body’s life force or energy). In particular, stimulation of acupoints allows the flow of chi to be distributed through the regions of the body. When the flow of energy is blocked, it results in the manifestation of diseases or ailments.

Acupuncture is performed by inserting needles into the different acupoints of the body. Acupressure is the non-invasive form of acupuncture and also targets the same acupoints. Acupressure can be practiced by using the fingers to apply pressure and stimulate the various acupoints. Alternatively, spiked or pointed tools can also be used to apply pressure, including diagnostic sticks, hand rollers, foot rollers, and acupressure balls. These devices can be easily pressed on to an acupoint, grasped by the hand or rolled by the foot.

Acupressure mats replicate the sensation of acupressure and acupuncture. The mechanism underlying the acupressure mat can be traced to the bed of nails that Hindu yogis used to help them in meditation.

One of the earliest versions of the modern acupressure mat is the one that was created by Ivan Kuznetsov several decades ago.

Kuznetsov was a school teacher from Russia. One day, he was asked to treat the school building with insecticide. He performed the task without adequate protective gear, which resulted in him becoming poisoned by harmful chemicals. He suffered from chronic pain, impaired peripheral circulation, and intense muscle spasms which rendered him immobile for lengthy periods of time.

The doctors that Kuznetsov approached could not cure his ailments, and even declared he had a hopeless case. Despite the circumstances, Kuznetsov did not give up and looked for alternatives. He tried acupuncture and discovered that his condition improved. However, he found it too expensive and inconvenient to go to an acupuncture session regularly. He tried to perform acupuncture by himself but also found it too difficult to reach specific points on body, especially the back.

These challenges led Kuznetsov to devise a contraption that mimicked acupuncture. He achieved this by inserting office pins into a sheet of rubber tire, upon which he then lied down. With the pins evenly distributed on the sheet, the pins were able to support Kuznetsov’s weight. The pins did not pierce his skin and he was thereby able to experience the effects of an acupuncture treatment anytime he desired.

When Kuznetsov approached his doctors and had himself re-examined, they were surprised to discover that he was healed. They advised Kuznetsov to present his creation to the Ministry of Health in Moscow. However, his invention was rejected by the Ministry because of the lack of scientific research to support the claimed benefits of his device. Kuznetsov went on to give treatment to people who were also deemed hopeless by conventional medicine with the use of his invention and recorded his cases in his journals.

In 1980, Kuznetsov successfully received a patent for his invention. His device was officially called the Kuznetsov Ipplicator. However, Kuznetsov and a group of researchers found that the metal needles could not be used at home. They developed another version of the device, this time creating it from plastic shaped into spikes and carefully arranged in modules.

Health Benefits of Acupressure Mats

People who use acupressure mats generally report feeling more relaxed. Others report feeling relieved from their back and muscle pains. Some also say they experience an improved night’s sleep.  

Other benefits experienced by those who have used acupressure mats include:

  • Soothed aches and pains;

  • Feeling more calm, possibly caused by the release of endorphins and oxytocin, or “feel-good” hormones;

  • Feeling more energized; and

  • Improved metabolism and digestion.

It is also believed that regularly using an acupressure mat can increase blood circulation. As a result, a person may be able to experience improved skin condition, encourage new cell growth, lower their heart rate, and support a stronger immune system and better mood.

Scientific Studies on Acupressure Mats

The study by Tanya Zilberter and Jim Roman is perhaps one of the most credited studies to explore the benefits of acupressure mats. A pilot study was conducted to assess the effects of mechanical stimulation of the skin. The study involved 200 participants who used their acupressure mats for at least two weeks. 95% of those who used acupressure mats reported experiencing positive results. Participants also answered questionnaires which demonstrated that 98% experienced pain relief, 96% felt relaxed, 94% reported improvement in the quality of their sleep, and 81% felt an increase in energy levels.

Another study by Saha et al. involved 91 participants who were advised to use acupressure mats daily for two weeks. The results showed that although there were no significant differences in pain intensity between the two weeks, there was immediate pain relief after use of the acupressure mats. The researchers concluded that acupressure mats can provide short-term pain relief for people suffering from chronic back pain.

Another study by Li et al analyzed how cobblestone-mat walking affected the health of older adults. The study involved 40 participants whose average age was 72. Participants were asked to perform a test spanning eight weeks. An experimental group was asked to perform a 45-minute cobblestone-mat walking activity for three sessions per week. This group reported improved physical and mental scores, psychological well-being, and reduced daytime sleepiness and pain. Acupressure mats may be able to provide the same benefits to the elderly, although research has yet to be conducted to explore this.

How to Use an Acupressure Mat

Using an acupressure mat is very easy. All that needs to be done is to lay it on a flat surface, such as the floor or a bed. You then simply lie down on the mat. To get the best results, it is recommended that you remove your clothing so that there is direct contact between the acupressure needles and your skin. If this feels too painful, thin clothing can be worn or the mat can be covered with a towel or sheet to serve as a buffer between the points and you skin.

A pillow or rolled blanket can be placed under the mat so that the acupressure points can target the neck and shoulders. Some acupressure mats come with a pillow that also have pointed discs. You can simply lay your head on the pillow to target the acupoints in that region.

Acupressure mats also help to release tension in the muscles. Lying sideways targets the iliotibial band (known as the IT band). To experience relief from back pain, bend the knees, or place a pillow under the mat and position it in the middle to give it a curved shape which mirrors the natural shape of the spine.

Another way to use the acupressure mat is to stand on it. This allows for body weight to push down on your feet and therefore make the pressure and contact more effective. Targeting the acupoints on the feet is beneficial because it contains various acupoints connected to the different systems and organs of the body.

You can also try sitting on the mat, which targets the buttocks and lower back. This is especially helpful for people who spend hours glued to their chairs during the work day.  

Regardless of the manner in which you use your acupressure mat, it is generally recommended that you use it for a period between 20 and 30 minutes.

Acupressure mats are also versatile and can be used together with other activities. In fact, it can create complementary health effect when used in yoga. For example, certain poses like savasana can help in reaching a calmer state when using an acupressure mat. Other examples include the apanasana pose, which is achieved when both knees are brought to the chest and hugged while lying flat on the mat. Another example is the ardha apanasana pose, which is achieved when one knee is brought close to the chest while keeping the other leg extended and flat. You can also try the forward fold pose with the palms and feet planted on the mat.

What to Expect When Using an Acupressure Mat

Some people find the initial sensation of using an acupressure mat to be uncomfortable. This effect can be lessened by using the acupressure mat gradually. This can be done by gently laying on the mat section by section, until the body lies completely flat. The mat can also be used for a shorter duration at first.  An initial 10-minute session on the acupressure mat will suffice until you become accustomed to the sensation and feel more comfortable lying on the mat.

Who Can Use Acupressure Mats?

Anyone can use acupressure mats, and they can be especially beneficial for people who are suffering from physical ailments. However, it is recommended that pregnant women as well as people with open cuts and wounds, malignant or benign tumors, or skin diseases refrain from using the mat until their conditions change.

Types of Acupressure Mats

There are many brands of acupressure mats for sale in the market today. It is very important to do your due diligence before deciding which to buy. 

In particular, you should ensure that the acupressure needles are attached to the mat using non-toxic glue. You should also stay away from mats that may contain BPA (bisphenol A). You should also ensure that the mat’s fabric is a breathable type, such as cotton or linen. An ideal material for the foam is organic coconut fiber, eco-foam, or non-toxic rubber foam.

Many manufacturers (including many selling on Amazon) sell acupressure mats at relatively low prices. Please be wary of these manufacturers. In most cases these acupressure mats have been mass produced and are held together using toxic glue. In addition, the foam pads and acupressure points are made of synthetic materials which contain harsh chemicals and have a strong chemical odour. Using these cheaper mats may result in skin infection, allergic reactions and other health ailments, in addition to greater environmental harm. 

Our acupressure mats are unparalleled in quality and are 100% eco-friendly. Each mat is carefully handmade using the highest-quality, hypoallergenic natural linen. Each mat also contains a removable cushion made of 100% natural coconut fibre. Our mats also feature more than 4,500 high-quality acupressure points in the beautiful shape of lotus flowers. These unique acupressure points are made of toxic-free surgical plastic and have been ergonomically engineered to have the greatest relaxation and healing effects.

Acupressure mats can be an excellent way to enjoy relief from aches and pains. However, acupressure mats are not a cure-all remedy for ailments. Always seek professional medical advice to verify that an acupressure mat can be used for your condition.

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Acupressure and its Health Benefits

Acupressure and its Health Benefits

With all of the increased stressors in today’s world, it is not surprising that our bodies sometimes experience a variety of aches and pains, including tension and soreness in the muscles. While there are a plethora of modern techniques available for treating these kinds of ailments, there are also various traditional and natural treatments available as well.

One such treatment is acupressure. Acupressure is a type of touch therapy that utilizes the same concepts which underlie acupuncture and Chinese medicine. Acupressure stimulates the same points that are targeted acupuncture. The only difference is that acupressure treatment is applied through the fingers or special tools rather than through the insertion of needles, meaning that acupressure is essentially the non-invasive version of acupuncture. Acupressure has been used for centuries to alleviate various symptoms and sickness and is often performed in conjunction with other traditional Chinese medicine procedures.

Unlike acupuncture, which requires visiting a certified and trained acupuncturist, acupressure can generally be self-performed anytime, anywhere. In this post, we discuss the key points you need to know about acupressure as well as its health benefits.

What You Need to Know About Acupressure

Fundamentally, acupressure entails applying pressure to the vital healing points of the body. It is believed that these points can stimulate the body’s natural healing capabilities. Pressure is administered primarily through the fingers, but the palms, elbows, feet, or other acupressure tools and devices can be used as well. The word acupressure is a combination of two words - the word “acus, which in Latin means “needles”, and the word “pressure”.

There are thousands of acupressure points found in different parts of the body. These points are sensitive to pressure and can be in the form of nerve clusters or other sensitive muscles, tendons, ligaments, blood vessels, and veins. These points have two characteristics and manners of function. A point is referred to as “local” when it is stimulated in the same area where pain and tension are felt. The same point can also “trigger” relief in other areas of the body. When one point is stimulated, it is believed that it can deliver healing to the other parts of the body, and alleviate different symptoms and pain.   

The concept of “meridians” is also an essential element of acupressure. Meridians are described as the body’s passageway that links the acupressure points to each other and the different organs in the body. Meridians can also be likened to how blood vessels transport blood through the various systems of the body. In the principles of Chinese traditional medicine, meridians are where chi, the vital life energy, travels throughout the body. Acupressure aims to unblock the circulation of chi by stimulating specific points, known as “acupoints”. The meridians closest to the skin is what acupressure seeks to stimulate since these are the easiest to trigger through finger pressure.  

History of Acupressure

Acupressure, acupuncture and Chinese traditional medicine are intrinsically linked. Acupressure is believed to have flourished in Asia some 5,000 years ago. The ancient Chinese treatise known as the Huangdi Neijing (The Yellow Emperor’s Classic of Internal Medicine), which emerged around 100 BCE, is said to have first contained an organized system of diagnosis and application of various methods of treatment, among them being acupuncture. It is also during this period that the concept of chi channels (meridians) was developed.

Bronze statues that were discovered dating from the 15th century depicted various acupressure points. These were used for education and examination purposes. Yang Jizhou, a prominent acupuncturist during the Ming Dynasty, compiled the Zhen Jiu Da Cheng (The Great Compendium of Acupuncture and Moxibustion), which describes the origin of acupuncture and other ancient works that are connected to it. This body of knowledge also detailed information related to the human anatomy and the internal organs, and discussed the use of acupuncture in the treatment of diseases.

Different Tools Used in Acupressure

Aside from the fingers, other tools and devices can be used to perform and aid in acupressure:

  • Special magnets shaped into heads of bolts and stars are placed on different acupoints and secured with surgical tape. The magnets can then be easily pressed to trigger the effect.

  • Acupressure mats, hand rollers, foot rollers, thumb pads, and acupressure balls are spiked objects that can be easily used to enjoy a quick acupressure treatment.

  • Acupressure wristbands and bracelets typically have a button or seed stuck to the band. When it is worn, the button is positioned on the P6 (or Nei Kuan) acupoint. Pressing the button stimulates the P6 point, which is believed to help relieve nausea and motion sickness.

There are also other ordinary items that can work as acupressure tools. A tennis ball can be rolled under the foot to experience quick relief by encouraging the feet to assume an arched position. To do this, place the ball under the arch of your foot and move it in circular motions. This movement resembles effleurage, which is a form of a massage using smooth strokes.

What Can Acupressure Do to Your Body?

Acupressure is primarily performed to help alleviate ailments and pains in the body. The health conditions it is used to treat include:

  • Headaches, toothaches, sinus problems;

  • Arthritis;

  • Nausea;

  • Nerve and muscle tension; and

  • Issues with the digestion and the immune system.

Acupressure is even used in beauty treatments to lessen the appearance of wrinkles. It can help increase muscle tone and improve blood circulation in the face and body. The pressure applied during acupressure therapy is believed to help distribute oxygen and give the skin a healthier appearance.

In the next section, we canvass various research studies which have demonstrated that acupressure treatment can provide significant health benefits.

Acupressure Research and Studies

Nausea

One research study by Hyde sought to explore the effect of acupressure on pregnant women experiencing morning sickness. The test involved 16 participants who were divided into two groups. The first group wore acupressure wristbands for five days, and went on for another five days without wearing the bands. The second group did the opposite. At the end of the trial, 12 out of the 16 participants reported experiencing relief from nausea and reduced levels of anxiety, depression and behavioral dysfunction.

Another study of acupressure’s effect on nausea was conducted by Chapman et al.The research involved 17 breast cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy. The participants were divided into two groups. The first group was comprised of patients who received acupressure therapy, where the acupoints in the forearm and knee (P6 and ST36) were stimulated through finger acupressure. The other group only received the usual care administered to patients undergoing chemotherapy. The results showed a significant difference between the two groups during the first ten days of the chemotherapy cycle: the women who received the acupressure treatment experienced less nausea compared to the other group.

Anxiety

Acupressure may also be beneficial for people suffering from dyspnoea, a medical condition that involves severe shortness of breath. A study by Tsay et al. explored this link. The study involved 52 patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease who were using mechanical ventilation support. The participants were separated into two groups - one was the experimental group which received acupressure and therapy for ten days, and the other was the control group who only received a massage treatment and handholding. The results showed that the experimental group had improved statistics compared to the control group. The researchers suggest that acupressure can help decrease sympathetic stimulation (the body’s “fight or flight” response) and alleviate the symptoms of dyspnoea and anxiety.

Another study by Barker et al. explored how acupressure affected the anxiety levels of patients who were transported to the hospital in an ambulance. The research involved 38 patients, some of whom received acupressure treatment. Their anxiety and pain levels, blood pressure, and heart rate were measured before the treatment. The participants who received acupressure therapy experienced lesser pain, anxiety, and had a lower heart rate. In addition to these results, the patients reported higher satisfaction with the care they received during the ambulance transport. The researchers encourage health practitioners to consider performing acupressure to help decrease patients’ anxiety and pain during emergency transport.

Dysmenorrhoea

Other research has investigated the effects of acupressure on dysmenorrhoea, which is painful menstruation involving abdominal cramps. The study involved 69 women divided into two groups, one of which received acupressure therapy targeting the sanyinjiao point (which is a point above the ankles). The other group only rested and did not receive acupressure treatment. Results from the test showed that the participants who received sanyinjiao acupressure during the initial session reported reduced levels of pain and anxiety. In addition, a self-treatment follow-up session showed a significant decrease in menstrual pain.

Back pain

Hsieh et al. conducted a study to determine how acupressure affected chronic back pain. The research involved 129 participants who were experiencing chronic back pain for at least four months. Acupressure therapy was administered to one group, while physical therapy was administered to the other group. The treatments were performed on the participants for one month and they were made to evaluate their experience through certain questionnaires. The results of the questionnaire score after treatment was significantly better with the acupressure group than with the physical therapy group. Results also showed that the acupressure therapy group had a significant reduction of disability than the physical therapy group, and the effects were sustained even after six months as evaluated through a follow-up.

Conclusion

Acupressure has many potential benefits that can improve your health and well-being. However, one should be careful not to completely replace medical prescriptions and methods advised by his or her doctor or medical professional. Always check with a certified health practitioner or seek professional medical advice for any health problems you are experiencing, and disclose any procedures that have been administered to your body.

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How Acupressure Can Help With Migraines and Headaches

How Acupressure Can Help With Migraines and Headaches

We all experience headaches and migraines for a variety of different reasons and they are never pleasant. However in most cases, reaching for the aspirin does not have to be your default reaction. The most common headaches can be easily alleviated with acupressure. And, even when you are in the midst of experiencing a migraine, acupressure can help you obtain some relief while the medication kicks in.

Acupressure is an alternative, natural tool which has been used for thousands of years by the Chinese and other Asian civilization. It works by stimulating pressure points (also known as 'acupressure points' or 'acupoints') on your body, and, unlike medication, the results can be immediate.

Before we discuss how you can benefit yourself with acupressure and how it can help with headaches and migraines, it is first important to understand what causes migraines and headaches. This is because, as you will see, not all headaches are alike, and some may point to a more serious underlying disease.

The Causes Behind Headaches and the Types of Headaches

According to the World Health Organization, almost half of the adult population worldwide will experience a headache in any given year. The reasons behind a headache can vary from stress or emotional distress to medical disorders, such as migraines, hypertension, anxiety, and depression, explains James Mcintosh for Medical News Today.

The International Headache Society puts headaches into two main categories: primary and secondary. 

Primary Headaches

Primary headaches are not caused by other conditions. Instead, they have to do with overactivity of or problems with pain-sensitive structures in the head. Chemical activity in the brain, the nerves of the blood vessels around the skull, and the head and neck muscles can play a role in this type of headache.

Some common primary headaches include:

Tension-Type Headache (TTH)

This is the most common primary headache disorder, and it often begins during the teenage years. As the name suggests, this type of headache can be stress-related or caused by musculoskeletal problems in the neck.

People describe it as a feeling of pressure or tightness, often like a band around the head. Sometimes, this pain can spread into or from the neck.

There are two types of tension-type headaches:

  • Episodic, which usually lasts for a few hours but can persist for several days. It happens on fewer than 15 days per month, and is the most common type of all.
  • Chronic, which happens on more than 15 days per month. It is much more disabling than the episodic one, as it can be very lengthy in duration. This type of headache affects 1-3% of the adult population.

Migraine

This primary headache disorder often begins at puberty, and most commonly affects people aged between 35 and 45. Because of hormonal influences, women suffer from migraines more often than men, usually by a factor of 2:1. Migraines are characterized by recurring attacks, and can often be life-long.

Migraines are caused by the activation of a mechanism in the brain which triggers the release of pain-producing inflammatory substances around the blood vessels and nerves of the head. This process results in some of the following symptoms:

  • Moderate or severe, pulsating, one-sided headaches which can last from several hours to several days and are aggravated by routine physical activity
  • Sensitivity to light, noise, and smells
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Abdominal pain and related problems
  • Fatigue
  • Dizziness
  • Blurred vision and sensory disturbances
  • Feeling very warm or cold
  • Diarrhea

Cluster Headache

This is one of the most painful types of headaches. It is characterized by bouts of intense pain in or around one eye on one side of the head. They happen in what are known as cluster periods that can last from weeks to months.

There are two types of cluster headaches: episodic and chronic. Episodic cluster headaches last from seven days to one year, followed by pain-free periods (remissions) of at least three months. Chronic cluster headaches can last for one year or longer without remission, or with remissions shorter than three months.

The symptoms include:

  • Severe one-sided pain located in, behind, or around one eye. It can also radiate to other areas of your face, head, and neck
  • Restlessness
  • Tearing
  • Redness of the affected eye
  • Stuffy or runny nose on the affected side
  • Drooping eyelid
  • Swelling around the eye
  • Pale skin or flushing
  • Sweating on the affected side

Other Primary Headaches

A primary headache can happen because of other factors as well. These may include:

  • Coughing
  • Exercise
  • Sexual activity
  • Cold stimuli (like ice-cream or cold air)
  • External pressure on the head

Secondary Headaches

Secondary headaches are triggered by another underlying condition. In other words, this type of headache is a symptom of an underlying disease. These headaches can point to different conditions, some of which may require immediate attention.

Some secondary headaches include:

  • Medication-overuse headache, which happens as a result of taking too much headache medication
  • Headaches caused by head/neck trauma or injury, which can be acute or persistent, and can also be caused by whiplash
  • Headaches caused by vascular disorders in the head or neck, such as a stroke, subarachnoid hemorrhage, or arteritis
  • Headaches caused by brain disorders
  • Substance use or withdrawal-related headaches, like those caused by red wine
  • Headaches caused by infections, such as meningitis
  • Homeostasis-related headaches, usually caused by high altitudes, diving, sleep apnea, fasting, hypothyroidism, and other issues
  • Headaches caused by health issues related to the eyes, ears, sinuses, teeth, mouth, the skull, or the head

The Science Behind Acupressure and How to Use It to Address Headaches and Migraines

Acupressure is one of the Asian bodywork therapies used in traditional Chinese medicine. It revolves around the medical theory of pressure points (also known as 'acupressure points' or 'acupoints') that lie along the meridians in the body. The meridians serve as energy channels, and it is believed that the vital qi (ch’i) energy flows through them.

Traditional Chinese medicine recognizes 12 major meridians that serve to connect specific organs or networks of organs. If any of these meridians becomes blocked or out of balance, you may experience different illnesses.

By stimulating the acupoints through acupuncture, acupressure or other pressure point massage, these energy blocks are unlocked, and, as a result, the illness is ameliorated. Pain is considered to be one of the instances of energy blocks in some of the meridians. 

Even though it is seen as an alternative health method, the effectiveness of acupressure has been proven time after time by many scientists. One study examined pain in particular, showing that acupressure has the potential to relieve many different types of pain, such as menstrual pain, labor pain, low back pain, chronic headache, and other traumatic pain.

Acupressure works by applying deep pressure to the acupoints, usually for an extended period of time. By doing so, you activate and stimulate those points and work on relieving the pain or tension.

It is generally accepted that the body contains various pressure points which, if properly and safely triggered, can support health and well-being. For instance, there are pressure points for pain generally, as well as specific pressure points for headache and specific migraine pressure points.

In the next section of this article, we identify and discuss various acupoints which can help relieve headaches and migraines, including various pressure points on the head, acupressure points in the hand and migraine pressure points in the ear.

The Acupoints Related to Headaches and Migraines

There are several acupoints you can stimulate to relieve the pain caused by headaches and migraines. Here is where you can find them:

The Head Region

    1. The Third Eye Point (GV-24.5)


      Image credit: New Health Advisor

      This acupoint is found between the eyebrows, where the bridge of the nose connects to the forehead. Helps with headaches and congestion and is a good pressure point to get rid of migraines.

        2. The Drilling Bamboo (B-2)


          Image credit: 
          New Health Advisor

          These pressure points are located at the inner corners of both eyes, just above the eyelids, below the eyebrows - on the bones surrounding the eyes. Stimulating them helps with sinus headaches and allergy symptoms. This can also be a good pressure point for relief from a tension headache.

            3. Welcome Fragrance (LI-20)


              Image credit: 
              New Health Advisor

              Located on the outer side of each nostril, near the bottom of the cheekbones, right below the pupil. Stimulating them helps with sinus headaches, migraines, tension headaches, and toothaches.

                4. Temple Acupoints


                  Image credit: 
                  New Health Advisor

                  The temple acupoints consist of a chain of five points: temporal hairline curve (GB-07), valley lead (GB-08), celestial hub (GB-09), floating white (GB-10), and head portal yin (GB-11). These acupoints are located above and behind the ears. The hairline curve starts just above the tip of the ear, and the rest follow by an index-finger width, curling down and back around the ear. Stimulating them with acupressure helps with headaches, migraine, tinnitus, and other conditions. These are among the best acupressure points for migraine headaches and are also excellent pressure points for cluster headaches.

                  Neck and Shoulders

                    1. The Wind Mansion (GV-16)


                      Image credit: 
                      New Health Advisor

                      This acupoint is located in the center of the back of the head, in the hollow under the base of the skull. Applying acupressure to it helps with migraines, stress, and stiff neck.

                        2. Heavenly Pillar (BL-10)


                          Image credit: 
                          New Health Advisor

                          These acupoints are located on the rope-like muscles, precisely two fingers below the base of the skull. Applying pressure to these points relieves aches at the back of the head, neck pains, stiff neck, eyestrain, stress, and insomnia.

                            3. Gate of Consciousness (GB-20)


                              Image credit: 
                              Acupressure.com

                              You can find these acupoints below the base of the skull, in the hollow between the vertical neck muscles. Stimulating them helps with headaches, arthritis, irritability, dizziness, stiff neck, and eye strain.

                              Hands and Feet

                                1. Hands - Union Valley (LI-4)


                                  Image credit: 
                                  New Health Advisor

                                  This acupoint is on the web between the thumb and the index finger. Apply pressure to this point on the top of the hand with your thumb or index finger to stimulate it. It helps with headaches in the frontal region, toothaches, and back pain. This is the among the most effective pressure points in the hand for relief from headache.

                                    2. Feet - Bigger Rushing (LV-3)


                                      Image credit: 
                                      New Health Advisor

                                      You can find this acupoint between the big toe and the second toe. Place your finger at the webbing between the toes and slide back one inch, or until you feel between the foot bones. Applying pressure to this point helps with headaches, foot cramps, arthritis, and eye fatigue.

                                        3. Feet - Above Tears (GB-41)


                                          Image credit: 
                                          New Health Advisor

                                          You will find this point an inch above the webbing between the fourth and fifth toe. This point is essentially where the bones meet. Stimulating it helps with headaches, sciatica, arthritis, hip pain, shoulder tension, and water retention.

                                          How to Use Acupressure to Help Relieve Headaches and Migraines

                                          After familiarizing yourself with the various pressure points which help with headaches and migraines, it is time to begin supporting your well-being with acupressure. 

                                          In one recent article, Aaron J. Michelfelder MD provided a short guide on how to apply acupressure correctly. He explains that this technique can be used both by professional staff and patients who like to perform it on themselves:

                                          1. Place your index finger or thumb on the acupoint and apply just enough pressure to move the skin.
                                          2. Start moving the finger or thumb in gentle, slow circles.
                                          3. With every few circles, increase the pressure until you feel the muscle fibers beginning to relax beneath your fingers. If you are stimulating an area without a muscle, just keep applying slow, steady, downward, circular pressure.
                                          4. While stimulating the acupoint, you should feel a dull, aching sensation. Continue applying acupressure for at least a minute, and do it within the limits of your comfort zone.
                                          5. If the acupressure does not yield an effect immediately by providing some relief for your headache or migraine, repeat after several minutes.

                                          Some Precautions

                                          Acupressure can be very useful for primary headaches, as well as some secondary headaches (like sinus headaches). However, when it comes to more serious headaches, such as migraines, we recommend that you consider using  medication and applying acupressure as a secondary tool to help relieve pain until the medication takes effect.

                                          In cases of secondary headaches, consulting a healthcare professional is paramount. These headaches may point to a very serious condition that may require immediate care. 

                                          Acupressure is an alternative approach which, although beneficial in certain cases, cannot address underlying causes and serious illnesses when used in self-treatment. So, consider it as only one tool in your arsenal for relieving pain rather than the solution to secondary headaches. 

                                          Also, according to WebMD, acupressure should be avoided in the following cases:

                                          • If the treatment is in the area of a cancerous tumor, or if the cancer has spread to the bones
                                          • If you have rheumatoid arthritis, bone disease, or spinal injury, which could be made worse by physical manipulation
                                          • If you have varicose veins
                                          • If you are pregnant (because you may induce contractions by stimulating certain points)

                                          How an Acupressure Mat Can Help with Headaches and Migraines

                                          Acupressure mats are designed to apply deep pressure to various acupoints when you lie or stand on them. These mats can be as effective as manual acupressure, and it is generally recommended that you lie or stand on them for at least 5-10 minutes at a time.

                                          There is a notable difference between applying acupressure manually and lying on an acupressure mat. In particular, acupressure mats can sometimes be less targeted depending how you use the acupressure mat. Oliver Grover, an acupuncturist and chiropractor, explains that this raises the concern of stimulating many different points on the body at once - which can be taxing on the body. However, the risks are relatively minor. 

                                          When it comes to headaches and migraines, acupressure mats can be great for the neck and shoulder regions. All you need to do is lie down and let them do their work. Doing so can provide migraine relief by triggering relevant pressure points.

                                          Please avoid using an acupressure mat if you have poor circulation or thin skin (common among the elderly or diabetic). This is because the mat may pierce your skin, and you may get an infection as a result.

                                          If you are interested in using acupressure for migraines or headaches and are looking for a high-quality, long lasting acupressure mat made of eco-friendly material, check out the acupressure mat by Dosha Mat.

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                                          Acupressure Points for Stomach Pain and Abdominal Issues

                                          Acupressure Points for Stomach Pain and Abdominal Issues

                                          We have all experienced stomach pains at some point in our lives. There can be many reasons why your stomach may hurt. Luckily, the most common ones are often something you should not worry about too much. And for these, acupressure can be an effective way to ameliorate abdominal pain by addressing many of the factors that play a role in causing it.

                                          Acupressure works by addressing these issues using knowledge handed down by ancient traditional Chinese medicine. By locating the appropriate acupoints and applying gentle pressure to them, you can benefit from a technique which promises almost immediate results.

                                          In this article, we will look at how acupressure can help you with stomach pains that are caused by different abdominal issues. However, before we take a closer look at how you can adopt this method, we first need to address the most common reasons you may be feeling stomach pains.

                                          What Causes Abdominal Pain?

                                          There are many conditions that can lead to abdominal pain. Many common factors do not pose a major concern and usually pass after a short period. For these, acupressure can work miracles in a very short period of time. However, there are some issues that may require immediate medical attention. 

                                          This is because there are many organs situated in the abdominal region, and, if they become affected by inflammation or disease, they are likely to cause a stomach ache. Any of the following organs experiencing issues can lead to abdominal pain:

                                          • Small intestine and colon (usually the most common source of abdominal pain)
                                          • Appendix
                                          • Stomach
                                          • Spleen
                                          • Liver
                                          • Pancreas
                                          • Kidneys
                                          • Gallbladder

                                          Here are the most common causes of stomach ache and how to recognize them.

                                          Stomach Flu (Gastroenteritis)

                                          Stomach flu is mostly caused by bacteria or viruses. It is accompanied by abdominal pain and cramps, watery diarrhea, nausea and/or vomiting, occasional muscle aches or headaches, and low-grade fever. These symptoms usually last for one or two days, but, in some cases, they can sometimes persist for as long as ten days.

                                          If you are suffering from stomach flu, it is important to keep yourself well-hydrated and control your body temperature. See a doctor in any case, but do so especially if you:

                                          • Cannot keep liquids down for more than 24 hours
                                          • Have been vomiting for more than two days
                                          • Are dehydrated
                                          • Notice blood in your vomit or stool
                                          • Have a fever higher than 104 F (40 C)

                                          Gas

                                          Sharp abdominal pain, bloating, and belching are a common result when too much gas accumulates in the gut. These are a few reasons why this happens. 

                                          For example, foods rich in fibers and sugars are prone to cause gassiness. And some components are hard to break down, especially if you are intolerant to some of their ingredients. 

                                          This is true for foods that contain raffinose and other complex sugars. Raffinose is found in beans and legumes, cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, wheat and other whole grains.

                                          Intolerance and sensitivities to certain substances can also lead to gassiness. Some examples include lactose, fructose, gluten, and garlic intolerance. And in some instances, gassiness comes as a result of  swallowing excessive air by drinking carbonated or fermented drinks, chewing gum, or eating hard candy.

                                          While these instances are benign, there are some cases when excessive gas may be pointing to a more serious underlying condition. Many of these conditions also contribute to abdominal pains and can include:

                                          • Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)
                                          • Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
                                          • Food poisoning
                                          • Celiac disease (a serious autoimmune disease)
                                          • Overgrowth of bacteria
                                          • A blocked intestine (caused by abdominal hernia, extra tissue, colon or ovarian cancer)
                                          • Crohn’s disease

                                          Constipation

                                          The increased pressure on the colon when too much waste accumulates in the bowel can be another reason for stomach ache. Constipation happens when the body absorbs too much water from the food, resulting in difficulty and straining when passing stool. This causes abdominal pain, stomach cramps, bloating and nausea, indigestion, and loss of appetite.

                                          Constipation can be the result of different causes, the most common of which are:

                                          • Lack of fiber in the diet
                                          • Physical inactivity or changes in routine
                                          • Medications (such as opioids, antidepressants, anticonvulsants, diuretics, calcium channel blocking drugs, aluminum-containing antacids, and laxatives)
                                          • Dairy products
                                          • Medical conditions and disorders (such as IBS, neurological disorders, endocrine and metabolic conditions, systemic diseases, and cancer)
                                          • Pregnancy
                                          • Lack of water intake
                                          • Rectum or colon issues

                                          Indigestion

                                          Also known as an upset stomach, indigestion can lead to stomach aches, bloating, nausea, uncomfortable fullness, discomfort, a burning feeling, and nausea. It is also less commonly known to lead to vomiting and belching. You may experience indigestion because of some negative habits, or as a result of digestive conditions.

                                          The most common causes of indigestion include:

                                          • Fatty, greasy, or spicy foods
                                          • Overeating or eating too quickly
                                          • Taking too much caffeine, alcohol, carbonated drinks, or chocolate
                                          • Smoking
                                          • Certain medications (like antibiotics, painkillers, and iron supplements)
                                          • Anxiety

                                          Digestive conditions that lead to indigestion include:

                                          • Gastritis
                                          • Peptic ulcers
                                          • Celiac disease
                                          • Constipation
                                          • Pancreatitis
                                          • Stomach cancer
                                          • Intestinal blockage
                                          • Intestinal ischemia
                                          • Gallstones

                                          Other Issues Known to Cause Abdominal Pain

                                          The abdominal region is a complex system where one condition can easily lead to or interact with another. In other words, many of the more serious digestive conditions mentioned above lead to some of the main culprits behind abdominal pain either by causing another condition to trigger it or by triggering the pain themselves.

                                          Here are a few other conditions that are known to cause stomach ache:

                                          • Menstrual cramps
                                          • Endometriosis
                                          • Urinary tract and bladder infections
                                          • Appendicitis
                                          • Parasite infection
                                          • Gallstones and gallbladder inflammation
                                          • Abdominal hernia
                                          • Abdominal muscle injury
                                          • Abdominal aneurysm
                                          • Abdominal organ injury

                                          Hopefully, the stomach ache you are dealing with is a benign one, which is bound to wear off after a while. However, if you have a reason to believe that you may be dealing with a much more serious issue, we strongly advise that you consult a healthcare professional.

                                          The Science Behind Acupressure and How It Can Help With Stomach Aches and Abdominal Issues

                                          Acupressure is based on the principles of acupuncture, where, instead of using needles, one can use their thumbs and fingers to apply pressure to the same acupoints or pressure points. These acupoints are located on what are known as meridians - channels of energy which connect to the body’s organs and deliver the vital energy known as Qi (ch’i). 

                                          By applying finger pressure on acupoints, you can manipulate the energy imbalances that lead to certain issues. This non-invasive method allows people to practice it safely on themselves, and it promises results similar to those of acupuncture. However, while acupressure is effective for common ailments, it is not intended to replace professional health care.

                                          The scientific community recognizes acupressure as an alternative health method that can help relieve many common abdominal issues such as stomach pain, gastrointestinal movement, constipation, menstrual cramps, gassiness and bloating, and others.

                                          In fact, studies have shown acupressure is even effective on bed-ridden patients with post-operative abdominal issues, like those caused by caesarean sections, and it can even lower the pain before an appendix removal. The pain-relieving results are achievable even when people apply acupressure on themselves.

                                          The Acupoints Related to Stomach Ache and Abdominal Issues

                                          There are several pressure points that are related to the abdominal region. Applying acupressure to these points can help you to relieve the stomach pain caused by various abdominal issues.

                                          Union Valley (LI-04)


                                          Image credit: Modern Reflexology

                                          This acupoint is located on the web between the index finger and the thumb. Applying acupressure to it improves overall intestinal function, relieves abdominal pain, regulates diarrhea and constipation, and even helps to fight dysentery.

                                          Inner Gate (PC-6)


                                          Image credit: Explore IM

                                          This acupoint is located approximately three fingers above the wrist crease on the inner side of the arm. Massage it with your thumb to relieve stomach ache, indigestion, nausea, morning sickness, vomiting, and even reduce anxiety.

                                          Crooked Pond (LI-11)


                                          Image credit:
                                          Modern Reflexology

                                          You can find this acupoint on the side of the elbow, on the outer side of the arm. You need to bend your forearm toward your neck, and locate the end of the crease at the elbow, about halfway up the side of the arm. Stimulating it helps with abdominal pain, diarrhea, and constipation.

                                          Middle Cavity (CV-12)


                                          Image credit: Smarter Healing

                                          This acupoint is located halfway between the bottom of the breastbone and the belly button. Stimulating it helps with relieving stomach pains caused by abdominal spasms, indigestion, constipation, as well as stress and anxiety.

                                          Sea of Qi (CV-6)


                                          Image credit: Smarter Healing

                                          You can find this powerful acupoint two finger widths below the navel. Stimulating it brings healing Qi energy to the body, while also relieving abdominal pain, constipation, digestive problems, gas, and lower back pain.

                                          Sea of Vitality (B-23, B-47)


                                          Image credit: Smarter Healing

                                          These acupoints are located near the spine at the waist level. By applying acupressure to these points, you can help to calm abdominal pains and stomach aches, while reducing indigestion. Do not stimulate them if you have a damaged spine.

                                          Leg Three Miles (ST-36)


                                          Image credit: Smarter Healing

                                          You can find this acupoint four fingers below the bottom knee cap, along the outer boundary of your shin bone. If you are at the right spot, you should feel a muscle pop up as you move your foot up and down. Stimulating this acupoint soothes stomach aches, stomach cramps, promotes healthy digestion, and helps in the treatment of stomach disorders.

                                          Grandfather-Grandson (SP-4)


                                          Image credit: Modern Reflexology

                                          This acupoint is located on the inside of the foot three finger widths behind the base of the big toe. Stimulating it helps to relieve stomach pain, diarrhea, indigestion, nausea, gassiness, and other abdominal diseases.

                                          Bigger Rushing (LV-3)


                                          Image credit:
                                          Modern Reflexology

                                          You can find this acupoint between the big toe and the second toe. Place your finger at the webbing and slide back one inch. You should be able to feel between the two bones. This point helps with relieving abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, and with improving gall-bladder health.

                                          How to Use Acupressure to Relieve Stomach Aches

                                          Once you have familiarized yourself with the locations of the acupoints, it is time to start applying pressure properly.

                                          1. Place your finger on the acupoint and apply gentle pressure, just enough to move the skin.
                                          2. Start moving the finger slowly and gently in circles.
                                          3. Increase the pressure gradually with every few circles, allowing the muscle fibers to relax. If you are massaging an area without a muscle, keep applying slow, steady, downward, circular pressure.
                                          4. You should feel a dull, aching sensation. However, do not go to the extent of pain - stay within your comfort zone. Apply the acupressure for at least a minute.
                                          5. If you do not feel the effect immediately, repeat the procedure after several minutes.

                                          A Word of Caution

                                          Acupressure can be a very useful tool if used with caution and on healthy tissue. However do not use it as a replacement for medical treatment. Some stomach aches may point to serious conditions that require immediate medical care.

                                          Avoid using acupressure if:

                                          • The acupoint is under scar tissue;
                                          • There are varicose veins;
                                          • There is a wound, swelling, or other damage;
                                          • You have rheumatoid arthritis, bone disease, or spinal injury; or
                                          • You are pregnant (as certain acupoints may provoke contractions).

                                          We also suggest that you consult an acupressure specialist before starting any self-treatment.

                                          How an Acupressure Mat Can Help with Stomach Pain

                                          Acupressure mats are designed to provide deep pressure to acupoints when you lie or stand on them. The effects from an acupressure mat are similar, if not as effective, to those of manual acupressure, and it is recommended that you use them for at least 5-10 minutes at a time.

                                          The risk with using an acupressure mat is the randomness involved in the treatment. This is because an acupressure mat will inevitably stimulate different pressure points, which can be taxing on the body. This effect, however, is quickly evened out.

                                          Furthermore, people with thin skin or poor circulation (such as the elderly or diabetic) should avoid using them, as the pressure may pierce the skin and cause infections.

                                          In other cases, acupressure mats are safe and can provide great comfort and pain relief.

                                          If you are interested in using acupressure for stomach pain and abdominal issues and are looking for a high-quality, long lasting acupressure mat made of eco-friendly material, check out the acupressure mat by Dosha Mat.

                                          Conclusion

                                          Acupressure is an effective treatment for relieving minor stomach pain and abdominal issues. By applying pressure on certain acupoints, you can help relieve stomach pain caused by various abdominal issues. An acupressure mat is another alternative option for treating stomach pain that will provide deeper pressure to the acupoints for effective relief. Give acupressure a try the next time your stomach is feeling a little off and see how it helps!

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