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The Ultimate Guide to Acupressure Points for Nausea Relief

The Ultimate Guide to Acupressure Points for Nausea Relief

Acupressure has been shown to provide easy relief from nausea caused by a variety of factors. We have all had nausea at least once: it’s that feeling which makes us feel uneasy in the stomach and makes us feel like we are going to be sick.

Nausea has a wide range of causes, and it is usually followed by voluntary or involuntary vomiting. Rather than a disease, nausea is a symptom of many conditions which can range from motion sickness to psychological conditions.

Luckily, the most common reasons we may feel nauseated are not usually serious, and the symptoms go away rather quickly. This is where acupressure can work wonders in promoting quicker relief and, consequently, prevent vomiting.

In this article, we will look at the most common acupressure points for nausea relief and how you can use them on yourself. However, before exploring these, we will first discuss what causes nausea and when you should seek medical attention.

What Causes Nausea?

As we already mentioned, nausea is not a disease, but rather a symptom of a variety of conditions. It can occur as a result of various external or internal factors and may lead to vomiting.

Because of the wide spectrum of causes of nausea, the rule of thumb is to observe for how long it lasts and whether there are other symptoms that accompany it. These are the most common reasons you may feel nauseated:

Intoxication by Toxic Substances or Alcohol

Nausea can be an immediate result of intoxication by ingesting toxic substances and can quickly result in vomiting. Alcohol intoxication is another example that many have experienced either immediately after drinking too much or the following morning accompanied by the rest of the symptoms of a hangover.

Psychological Factors

Emotional stress, such as fear and anxiety, is known to lead to nausea. In terms of psychological illnesses, bulimia is by far the most prevalent reasons for it nausea. In the case of bulimia, nausea happens quickly after eating.

Motion Sickness and Seasickness

Motion sickness and seasickness can happen during bumpy rides. They happen because the senses do not sync up with the messages transmitted to the brain, which leads to dizziness, nausea, or vomiting.

Sensitivity to Certain Foods

Nausea can also be the result of a high sensitivity to certain foods. Food intolerance or reaction to certain substances in the food you have eaten can make you feel nauseated and sick, and you may even experience cramps and diarrhea. One such example is lactose intolerance, which results in digestive symptoms because the body does not have the necessary enzymes to digest and absorb it properly.

Diet

Food choices and eating habits can also result in nausea. Feeling nauseated can be the result of overeating or eating spicy or foods high in fats. This is also true of food allergies. 

Medications

Medication-related nausea happens after taking medications that can upset the stomach. A notorious example of this is chemotherapy used for cancer treatment. If you happen to experience nausea when undergoing a new treatment, be sure to read the medication information and talk to your doctor about ways to minimize this symptom.

Viral or Bacterial Infections

Another common cause of nausea is infection caused by foodborne bacteria (food poisoning) and viral infections like influenza and stomach flu. In such cases, this symptom is often combined with diarrhea, fever, and abdominal pain and cramps.

Ulcers

Ulcers are sores in the stomach or the lining of the small intestine which cause a burning sensation and sudden nausea when you eat. Common symptoms of ulcers include:

  • Dull stomach pain;
  • Weight loss;
  • Bloating;
  • Acid reflux or burping;
  • Heartburn;
  • Blood or dark coloration in the stool and vomit;
  • Feeling easily full, or not wanting to eat because of the pain.

Early Pregnancy

Nausea is a common symptom in early stages of pregnancy, occurring in 50% to 90% of all pregnancies. Vomiting is less common but can happen as a result of feeling nauseated.

Intense Pain

Intense pain can also contribute to feeling nauseated. This pain can be the result of an injury, but it can also be due to painful conditions such as kidney stones, gallbladder stones, and pancreatitis.

Some Other Issues Known to Cause Nausea

Aside from the factors and causes mentioned above, nausea can also be caused by a number of other conditions which may require immediate medical attention. In life-threatening situations, nausea is usually a part of a combination of symptoms.

Medical conditions that cause nausea include:

  • Ear infection
  • Migraine
  • Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV)
  • Intestinal blockage
  • Concussion or brain injury
  • Gallbladder disease
  • Gastroparesis or slow stomach emptying
  • Appendicitis
  • Heart attack
  • Liver failure or liver cancer 
  • Meningitis

While most instances of nausea are short-term and benign, the most serious ones are usually accompanied by symptoms you cannot avoid noticing. Always seek medical attention if you’re concerned that you may be experiencing a medical emergency.

The Science Behind Acupressure and How It Can Help with Nausea

Acupressure is an alternative medical approach which originates from traditional Chinese medicine. It works by unlocking energy blocks in the meridians, which are the main channels of energy flow throughout the body.

By massaging and pressing acupoints (also known as pressure points) on the body, you can work on relieving many different symptoms, including nausea. It is a non-invasive method which is safe to use on oneself, and it promises quick results in many cases. As discussed in more detail below, there are various pressure points on the body, including pressure points for relieving nausea, addressing stomach pain and ache, aiding an upset stomach, and improving digestion. 

In the case of nausea, scientific research has shown that acupressure can help with nausea caused by different factors. A prominent example of its effectiveness is the relief of nausea and vomiting in cancer patients who are undergoing chemotherapy.

Acupressure also helps with post-operative nausea and vomiting caused by general anesthesia. One recent study examined its effectiveness on 108 patients who had undergone surgery under anesthesia and concluded that it had a positive effect in the relief of nausea and vomiting, making it a good alternative to conventional medications.

Acupressure has also been found to have a positive effect on nausea and vomiting in early pregnancy. You should note, though, that practicing acupressure during pregnancy can lead to premature contractions. This study, however, examined the effects of the PC-6 acupoint, which does not have that effect. 

The Acupoints Related to Nausea Relief

There are several acupoints which can help with nausea and vomiting. Applying pressure to these acupressure points when feeling nauseated can quickly reduce or completely eliminate that feeling in a short time.

Inner Gate (PC-6)


Image credit:
Explore IM

The PC-6 acupoint is the most famous and most studied acupressure point for nausea relief, and is sometimes known as the “wrist pressure point” or the “anti nausea” pressure point. You can find it by pacing three fingers above the wrist crease on the inner side of the arm. Massaging it helps with morning sickness, nausea, indigestion, stomach ache, vomiting, and even anxiety.

Union Valley (LI-04)


Image credit:
Modern Reflexology

This acupoint is found on the web between the index finger and the thumb. Applying pressure to it can help with nausea caused by digestive issues, headaches, and pain. It also works well in improving intestinal function and reducing abdominal pain. You should avoid this acupoint if you are pregnant, however.

Leg Three Miles (ST-36)


Image credit:
Smarter Healing

This acupoint is located four fingers below the bottom kneecap, along the outer boundary of your shin bone. You will know you have found the point when you feel a muscle pop if you move your foot up and down. Massaging this point helps with nausea caused by pain, digestive issues, stomach disorders, as well as other health issues. 

Bigger Rushing (LV-3)


Image credit:
Modern Reflexology

To find this acupoint, place your finger at the webbing between the big toe and the second toe and slide back about two finger widths, or until you are able to feel between the two bones. Apply pressure to this point to relieve nausea and vomiting, abdominal pain, and improve liver and gall-bladder health. 

Grandfather-Grandson (SP-4)


Image credit:
Modern Reflexology

Locate this point by measuring three finger widths behind the base of the big toe on the inside of the foot. Massaging it helps with nausea, flatulence, indigestion, diarrhea, and other abdominal issues.

Spleen Shu (BL-20)


Image credit:
TMCWindow

For this acupoint, it may be best to see an acupressure practitioner, as it is difficult to reach. It is located on the 11th thoracic spine on the middle of the back. Stimulating it helps with nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, jaundice, bloating, and other conditions.

Hidden Gate (KID-21)


Image credit:
Healthline

This is another acupoint that you should leave to an acupressure practitioner. It is located in the upper stomach area, just below the breastbone on either side of the stomach. Applying acupressure massage to this point helps with relieving nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, and bloating.

How to Use Acupressure to Relieve Nausea

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. Move the finger in slow and gentle circles;
  3. With every few circles, gradually add more pressure and allow the muscle fibers to relax. If there are no muscles under the acupoint, keep applying a slow, steady, downward pressure in circles;
  4. Stay within your comfort zone and do not allow yourself to feel pain. Some dull aching sensation is normal. Keep applying pressure to the acupoint for at least a minute; and
  5. If you do not feel the effect immediately, repeat the procedure after several minutes.

A Word of Caution

Acupressure can be useful when used cautiously and on healthy tissue. Nevertheless, you should not use it as a replacement for medical treatment. Some conditions may point to a much more serious underlying condition, so consulting a health care professional and an acupressure practitioner should always come first.

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;
  • 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 Nausea Relief

Acupressure mats can be especially useful for acupoints which are hard to reach, including some of the pressure points described above. 

The effects of using an acupressure mat are similar to those of applying manual pressure to acupoints. Acupressure mats work by applying pressure to acupoints when you stand or lie on the mat. They also have the benefit of being able to stimulate multiple points at the same time. 

Stimulating multiple points at the same time can be a bit taxing on the body, so practice this method with caution and avoid it altogether if you have thin skin or poor circulation (common among the elderly and diabetic).

Use the acupressure mat for at least 5-10 minutes at a time. If you are looking for an acupressure mat to use to address nausea, take a look at the acupressure mat by Dosha Mat. These acupressure mats are high-quality, long lasting mats made of eco-friendly natural material.

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Acupressure for High Blood Pressure

Acupressure for High Blood Pressure

Acupressure is an effective method for managing high blood pressure. It can be used as a trick to lower blood pressure almost instantly, and it can address the issues which cause it in the first place. While consulting a health professional is necessary, acupressure can work wonderfully as a first aid fix.

High blood pressure, or hypertension, is an issue which affects 1 in every 3 adults in the USA alone. Having high blood pressure puts you at greater risk for heart disease and stroke, and other cardiovascular diseases. What makes it especially dangerous is that in most cases it does not show any symptoms.

There are a variety of reasons why hypertension can occur. Some medical conditions can result in hypertension as a symptom, and certain unhealthy habits can cause it even if you are generally healthy.

If you are suffering from hypertension, it is always recommended to consult a health professional. Acupressure, on the other hand, is excellent if you need to address hypertension, manage it, and lower it on the spot. In this article, you will learn the best acupoints for high blood pressure and how you can use acupressure to manage this condition.

The Symptoms of Hypertension

Hypertension is known as “the silent killer,” as in most cases it does not show any signs of being present. This is why many people do not even realize they have it, and thus leave it untreated.

The best way to know if you are suffering from high blood pressure is to measure it. Blood pressure is considered normal when it is 120 over 80 mmHg or lower. When elevated, it ranges from 120 to 129 over 80 mmHg.

High blood pressure starts from 130-139 over 80-89 mmHg at stage 1, and above 140 over 90 mmHg at stage 2. At its highest (higher than 180 over 120 mmHg), it is known as hypertensive crisis – and this is the only state when you might encounter noticeable symptoms.

During a hypertensive crisis, you may experience headaches and nosebleeds. Additionally, in rare and severe cases, high blood pressure may cause sweating, blushing, sleeping problems, and anxiety.

If such symptoms occur and are accompanied by a high blood pressure measurement, you should immediately consult a health professional or call 911. In the meantime, you can try to lower it by applying acupressure as a first aid fix.

What Causes High Blood Pressure?

High blood pressure can occur without an obvious reason, as a result of stress and unhealthy habits, or because of an underlying condition. The main culprits behind hypertension are related to fluid buildup in the system (mainly due to kidney issues or high sodium content) and the thickening or hardening of the arterial walls (atherosclerosis).

These can be caused by a variety of factors ranging from lifestyle choices to medical conditions.

Risk Factors Related to Hypertension

Family history, age, gender, and race play a role in how likely you are to develop high blood pressure. Generally, there is a greater chance you will have hypertension if you have parents or close blood relatives who suffer from it, and it can occur as the result of age (being most prevalent at the age of 60 and up).

However, there are some instances which can lead to hypertension regardless of how likely you are to develop it because of hereditary or physical risk factors. These are generally related to your lifestyle and can include the following:

Smoking or tobacco use. Smoking and secondhand smoke are known to increase blood pressure temporarily, while also affecting the long-term health of the arteries.

Drinking too much alcohol. Regular and heavy use of alcohol can have a toll on your cardiovascular health and increase blood pressure dramatically. 

Stress. Too much stress can raise your blood pressure directly, while also putting you at risk of developing unhealthy habits which contribute to it.

Lack of physical activity. Physical activity is good for your cardiovascular health, and the lack thereof can contribute to its deterioration. This can lead to hypertension as one of the consequences.

An unhealthy diet, especially one high in sodium and low in potassium. Food with too much salt, high in calories, saturated and trans fats, and sugar, puts you at greater risk of developing high blood pressure.

Being overweight or obese. Carrying too much weight can affect your heart and circulatory system by putting an extra strain on them. This can result in high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, and other serious health conditions.

Underlying Conditions which Cause Hypertension

From pregnancy, conditions which can be controlled, and those which are chronic and need treatment, certain underlying conditions can lead to high blood pressure as one of their symptoms. These include:

  • Pregnancy;
  • Sleep apnea;
  • Diabetes;
  • Chronic kidney disease (CKD);
  • Pheochromocytoma (a rare cancer of the adrenal gland);
  • Congenital adrenal hyperplasia;
  • Hyperthyroidism;
  • Hyperparathyroidism; and
  • Cushing syndrome (caused by corticosteroid drugs).

While you can use acupressure to address hypertension in most of these cases, it is generally recommended to avoid acupressure if you are pregnant, because it may induce labor.

The Science behind Acupressure and How It Can Help with High Blood Pressure

Acupressure is one of the ancient approaches to treating various health issues dating back over 3000 years. Based on the principles of acupuncture, it works by applying pressure on acupoints located on the main energy channels known as meridians.

It is a non-invasive method which helps to remove energy blockages and imbalances, and the medical community has confirmed its effectiveness in many instances. In the case of high blood pressure, acupressure has been shown to be effective by a range of studies conducted throughout the years.

Acupressure is generally seen as a first aid approach to lowering high blood pressure with immediate effects which can last from 1 to 24 hours. When combined with acupuncture or its electroacupuncture variation, one study suggests that it can even have a long-term effect on lowering hypertension, affecting the sympathetic and renin-aldosterone systems.

Acupressure helps to lower high blood pressure by addressing it directly or indirectly, and there are several acupoints which can do the job. However, despite its effectiveness, acupressure should not replace professional medical care.

Acupoints Related to High Blood Pressure

If you need immediate blood pressure relief, massaging certain acupoints can help you out. The following are the best acupoints for lowering high blood pressure:

Bigger Rushing (LV-3)

Image credit: Modern Reflexology

This is the best acupoint for lowering blood pressure. It can help reduce hypertension almost instantly, while also being useful for addressing anxiety, irritability, insomnia, nausea and vomitingindigestion, and other issues.

It is located 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.

Gates of Consciousness (GB-20)


Image credit: 
Acupressurepointsguide.com

Also known as the Wind Pool, these acupoints are one of the most potent points for high blood pressure treatment. They can also be stimulated to relieve headaches and migraines, neck tension, fever, and other issues.

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

Hundred Convergences (GV-20)


Image credit: 
Modern Reflexology

This is another potent acupoint for addressing hypertension. Among other things, it helps to calm the nerves, strengthen memory and concentration, and reduce headaches, dizziness, and irritability.

You can find it at the top of the head, at the center of the imaginary line drawn from ear to ear.

Crooked Pond (LI-11)


Image credit: 
Modern Reflexology

This acupoint is another frequently used point for high blood pressure treatment. It also helps with reducing high fever, abdominal and menstrual issues, blood circulation issues, skin diseases, and other conditions.

To find it, bend your forearm toward your neck. It is located at the end of the crease at the elbow, about halfway up the side of the arm.

Inner Gate (PC-6)


Image credit: 
Explore IM

Applying pressure to this acupoint helps to soothe and facilitate proper functioning of the heart and circulatory system, while simultaneously lowering hypertension. This acupoint is also useful for headaches, nausea, and vomiting, among other things.

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

Leg Three Miles (ST-36)


Image credit: 
Smarter Healing

This acupoint is effective in the treatment of hypertension, arteriosclerosis, and circulatory disorders. It also aids in tonifying the blood, treating digestive disorders, general weakness, and other health conditions.

It is located four fingers below the bottom of the kneecap, along the outer boundary of the shin bone. You will feel a muscle pop up when you move your foot up and down.

Yang Hill Spring (GB-34)


Image credit: 
Modern Reflexology

This is another acupoint that helps to control blood pressure naturally, helping to channelize any stagnation of the liver energy. It also helps with addressing shoulder and knee pain, vomiting, and jaundice.

You can find it on the lateral side of the lower leg, in the hollow beneath the head of the fibula.

Spirit Gate (HT-7)


Image credit: 
Miridia Tech

This is a vital acupressure point for hypertension, and it helps to calm stress, irritability, nervousness, and anxiety. It is also good for heart problems like pounding heart, irregular heartbeat, angina, as well as sleeping disorders, mania, and insomnia.

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

Bubbling Spring (KD-1)


Image credit: 
Modern Reflexology

This acupressure point helps to relieve hypertension, eliminate tension, and calm irritability, anger, and anxiety. It is also good for sleeping disorders, headaches, tinnitus, lower back pain, post-menopausal symptoms, nausea, and other conditions.

It is located on the foot sole between the second and the third toe bone, at approximately two thirds of the distance from the heel to the base of the second toe.

Union Valley (LI-04)


Image credit: 
Modern Reflexology

Mainly used to treat various types of pain and headaches, this acupressure point can also be helpful in addressing high blood pressure. It is situated on the web between the thumb and the index finger.

How to Use Acupressure for Hypertension

Once you have managed to locate the acupoints properly, use gentle pressure to massage them for some time in order to achieve hypertension relief. To achieve successful acupressure self-treatment, follow these steps:

  1. Place your thumb or index finger on the acupoint and press gently enough to move the skin;
  2. Begin moving the finger in slow and gentle circles;
  3. Add gradual pressure with every few circles, allowing the muscle tissue to relax. If there is no muscle tissue at the acupoint, increase the pressure steadily and slowly;
  4. You should sense a dull aching sensation, but do not allow yourself to feel pain;
  5. Keep applying pressure for at least a minute;
  6. Repeat the procedure after a short break if necessary.

When You Should Be Careful with Acupressure

Acupressure is generally a harmless technique which you can perform on yourself at any time. However, you should avoid acupressure in the following circumstances:

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

Regardless of its effectiveness, do not rely on acupressure as your only means of treatment. Consulting a health professional is paramount for any medical condition. Also, it is smart to consult an acupressure or acupuncture specialist before starting self-treatment.

How an Acupressure Mat Can Help with High Blood Pressure

Acupressure mats are designed to provide deep pressure to acupoints when you stand, sit or lie 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.

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

The Bottom Line

Acupressure is a proven method for addressing many different health issues, including high blood pressure. It can work wonderfully as a quick method for instant hypertension relief, and it can address underlying issues which may lead to it in the first place.

So, next time your measurements show that your blood pressure has risen, give this self-help method a try to lower it. However, do not replace acupressure for professional medical treatment. Hypertension can be fatal if not treated properly.

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How to Use an Acupressure Mat

How to Use an Acupressure Mat

If you are using an acupressure mat for the first time, it is understandable if you find the concept somewhat intimidating. Lying on spikes may not sound very comfortable, and you may be faced with some initial discomfort when you first use your acupressure mat. However, that initial unease and discomfort quickly fades for most people as the incredible benefits of acupressure therapy set it.

In this article, we discuss how to effectively use an acupressure mat depending on your level of experience.

Using Your Acupressure Mat

Ideally, you should lie down on an acupressure mat with just bare skin; but this is for more advanced users. For beginners, we recommend placing a sheet of cloth (e.g. towel or any clothing) between the mat and your skin. You may wear an actual piece of clothing too, if you prefer. This practice will help lessen the pressure of the sharp points against your skin, and eventually get you accustomed to the sensation.

Acupressure mats are generally placed on a flat surface like beds, couches, or on the floor. If you are using your acupressure mat on the floor, feel free to use additional pieces of cloth in order to provide cushion, so long as you feel comfortable with the sensation. You may also use other personal effects such as pillows if you need some cushioning for your head, neck or legs. Once you lie down, make sure to comfortably position your back (or any part of the body you are targeting) evenly on the spikes.

The length of each acupressure session can also be scaled as well. For beginners, we recommend using it daily for at least 5 minutes; for intermediate users, we recommend using it daily for at least 15 minutes; and for advanced users, we recommend using daily it for at least 30 minutes. Using it multiple times a day for shorter durations is also a great approach.

The sensation produced by using an acupressure mat is known to produce a flood of endorphins. Just like exercise, the stimulation caused by the tiny spikes causes equally tiny reflexes in your skin, which in turn encourages your body to release endorphins. Endorphins are the hormones primarily responsible for making you feel healthy and happy.

As a bonus tip, you may wish to elevate the overall experience of using an acupressure mat by listening to a soothing melody, your favorite audio book, or anything that can help ease you into stillness and relaxation.

Symptoms that Can be Treated with an Acupressure Mat

One of the best things about acupressure mats is that pretty much anyone can use them with ease. If used on a regular basis, acupressure mats are sure to bring about many health benefits. Additionally, they are a great alternative to relieving various issues, as described below.

Back Pain

Acupressure mats are perfect for alleviating back pain. The tiny spikes of the mat will encourage proper blood flow, which in turn helps relax your sore muscles and relieve pain and tension. Simply place your mat on a flat surface and gently lie down until you are comfortably positioned. If your lower back is what ails you, put a towel under the mat; the mat should then gently press against your lower back. Do this for at least 20 minutes and you should notice a significant improvement in your back pain.

Neck Pain

Acupressure mats are also a great tool for relieving chronic neck pain. Place the mat on a flat surface and put a rolled cloth under the mat beneath your head. As you lie down on the mat, gently adjust your body by moving your back down until the back of your neck is firmly supported by the bump created by the rolled cloth. Keep yourself relaxed in this position for at least 20 minutes. You may also re-adjust as needed to target specific areas of your neck.

Anxiety and Stress

Acupressure mats are great for reducing anxiety and stress and helping your mind relax. In order to achieve this, take long, deep breaths while lying down on the mat. It is also helpful to keep your eyes closed, free your mind from thoughts and try to stay in the moment. Listening to a guided meditation can be a great way to ease yourself into the right mental state. It is most beneficial to use your mat for this purpose just before going to bed and this will help ensure that you get a great night’s sleep.

Energy Slump

Acupressure mats can also provide the boost you need whenever you feel low on energy, which is common during the morning or in the afternoon. To achieve this, lie down on your acupressure mat for no more than 20 minutes. Keep in mind that anything more than that will induce relaxation and may defeat the purpose of raising your energy levels.

Feet and Hands

Acupressure mats are also a great reflexology tool. Our feet and hands have many points on them that correspond to various parts of the body. For foot reflexology, place one foot at a time on the mat for three minutes. Feel free to move your foot around, or to adjust your positioning to increase pressure during this process. Once done with both feet, place them together on the mat for an additional minute. For hand reflexology, simply place one hand on the mat for one minute; once done, repeat the process with the other hand. You may also move your hand and increase the pressure as you feel necessary.

Final Thoughts

Acupressure mat treatments are a great way to maintain a healthy lifestyle, avoid pain, and relax the body and mind. By using an acupressure mat, you can effectively and efficiently address various issues at any time of the day, whether low energy level, difficulty relaxing, or back pain.

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The Ultimate Guide to Ayurvedic Massage

The Ultimate Guide to Ayurvedic Massage

Ayurveda can be an integral part of your health regime and a way to treat illness and rejuvenate the body. One aspect of the practice of ayurveda is known as ayurvedic massage. Ayurvedic massage is utilized as a powerful regimen for healing. It is a unique experience that focuses on complete relaxation leading to stress relief in the entire body. It uses essential oil in combination with various motions and pressure which work on specific energy fields with a view to liberating and freeing the body from stress and blockages.

Ayurvedic massages utilize a holistic approach that not only relieve physical stress, but also work at a mental level in order to restore peace to the mind. It is not merely a physical massage, but rather a holistic therapy that can relieve all the emotional stress built-up in your body, thereby restoring a sense of harmony.

Ayurvedic massage is based on ayurvedic guidelines which, if followed, can lead to increased blood circulation in the body, strengthening of the lymphatic system, and stress reduction.

Various Types of Ayurvedic Massages and their Health Benefits

In Ayurveda, there are various types of massages, some of which are better suited for certain kinds of people. Each individual is different and has a unique balance of doshas, body type and physical constitution. Ayurveda recognizes every individual as unique, hence why there are different types of massages and a variety of different Ayurvedic oils available and recommended based on body type.

1. Abhyanga

Abhyanga is a full body warm oil Ayurveda massage that can help you recharge your mind and body. A daily warm oil massage routine can help dissolve all of your accumulated toxins and stress. For this kind of massage, an Ayurvedic oil is recommended based on your dosha type and medical condition.

Abhyanga is a form of self-massage. For improved health and well-being, consider giving yourself a full body oil massage daily. It will nourish your body, balance your doshas, improve your strength and bring about more restful sleep.

How to Perform an Abhyanga Massage

  • Abhyanga is generally performed in the morning before bathing using a suitable Ayurvedic oil.
  • Put a little oil into a small vessel and put the vessel on a hot pan. Once the oil is pleasantly warmed, remove it from the pan.
  • Dip your fingertips into the warm oil and energetically massage your entire body.
  • This will create further heat in your body, which will help your body absorb the oil.
  • Use enough oil so that your hands glide smoothly over your body.
  • Use herbal Ayurvedic hair oil for your hair and scalp.
  • Use up-down strokes for limbs and circular motion for the joints.
  • 15 to 20 minutes of massage is advised, followed by a bath with an herbal ubtan, which is a powdered mix of Ayurvedic herbs and natural ingredients.

Benefits

  • Muscles get toned
  • Increased blood circulation
  • Improved mental alertness
  • Removal of toxins from the body
  • Better sleep patterns
  • Strengthens the body

Abhyanga nourishes the largest organ of your body, being the skin. It also allows the body to release toxins which will increase its functional efficiency. In fact, a pilot study conducted to investigate the effects of abhyanga revealed that it has a promising effect on reducing stress and is also helpful in reducing blood pressure.

2. Pizhichil

In Pizhichil massage, a special kind of vessel called a Kindi is used in which warm essential oil is contained. This vessel is kept a few inches above the body. Depending on the person's health condition, a suitable Ayurvedic oil is chosen. This massage works especially well for balancing vata dosha.

Procedure

Pizhichil is done under the guidance of a trained Ayurvedic physician. In this treatment, warm Ayurvedic oil is poured using Kindi with a simultaneous massage. In general, 60 to 90 minutes of massage is performed every day for a period of 14 to 21 days.

Benefits

Through izhichil, you can experience the amazing health benefits of both oil therapy and heat therapy. In addition, this type of massage:

  • Strengthens immunity
  • Improves blood circulation
  • Rejuvenates the body
  • Helps in the healing of fractures
  • Enhances muscle development
  • Helps in the treatment of nerve disorders and weak nervous systems
  • Can help treat rheumatic diseases such as rthritis, paralysis and hemiplegia.

This is a wonderful massage therapy that can completely rejuvenate the nervous system, maximize healing potential, and enhance muscle tone.

3. Udvartana

In this type of massage, a dry Ayurvedic powder or herbal paste is utilized during the massage. This dry powder massage is very beneficial for kapha dosha. It facilitates a detoxification process in which excess fat and cellulite are removed through the process of scrubbing and massaging.

Procedure

An Ayurvedic powder or paste is prepared with a mixture of different herbs. Approximately 45 minutes of massage is advised with upward strokes over the entirety of the body. This process helps detoxify the body and activates the body’s metabolism.

Benefits

  • Helps reduce body fat
  • Eliminates body odor and helps combat excessive sweating
  • Beneficial in the treatment of cellulite
  • Helps remove excess toxins from the body
  • Aids in the treatment of diabetes, obesity, skin problems and varicose veins
  • Aids with muscular dystrophy and Parkinson’s disease

Udvartana is a great option if you are trying to lose weight and control your cholesterol level. It also helps enhance your skin tone.

4. Shirodhara

Shirodhara is a special type of head massage in which a constant stream of herbal medicated oil is poured on the scalp in a manner that stimulates the nerves in your head. Shirodhara is a wonderful therapy that relieves mental stress, improves alertness and eases headaches. Studies have revealed that Shirodhara leads to a state of relaxation as seen during meditation. Studies have also shown that it can have significant health benefits, including decrease in anxiety, hypertension and stress.

Procedure

Ayurvedic herbal oil is poured on your forehead. Initially, it is poured in a specific pattern from right to left, after which time the oil is set to pour into the middle of the forehead. This oil flow continues throughout the massage which lasts for about 30 minutes. This soothing therapy activates the cranial nerves and induces calmness.

Benefits

  • Reduces mental stress, inducing calmness and relaxation
  • Stimulates a powerful energy point in the forehead, which helps reduce anxiety Improves clarity and focus
  • Helps with better sleep quality
  • Particularly useful for those with vata dosha

Shirodhara is the best massage type for supporting overall health and wellness and mental clarity.

5. Garshana

The Garshana massage does not involve any oil or herbal powder. Instead, raw silk gloves are used to stimulate the body. This massage stimulates the lymphatic system which leads to the elimination of ama (digestive toxins) from the body. This massage also helps in the elimination of dead cells, making the skin clean and radiant.

Procedure

Garshana is a light, vigorous massage using raw silk gloves in a manner comparable to using a dry body brush. As a result, this massage type is sometimes called “dry brushing”. This massage is done using circular motion at joint areas and long strokes. Garshana massage normally ends with a shower. For an extended session and more benefits, abhyanga massage can be performed after the garshana massage is complete.

Benefits

  • Stimulates better metabolism and digestion
  • Removes ama
  • Exfoliates the skin
  • Promotes lymphatic drainage
  • Stimulates blood flow and circulation

After a garshana massage, you will typically feel lighter, more energetic and ready to be active. It refreshes the skin and helps remove toxins.

6. Njavarakizhi

Njavarakizhi is well known for increasing body perspiration. It is a form of massage that induces sweat by applying heat and warmth to the body. This massage therapy utilizes a special milk which is processed with herbs and combined with a special type of rice called njavara. This substance, combined with the massage therapy, provides minerals and nutrients to the body’s tissues.

Procedure

Before the commencement of njavarakzhi, a a full body abhyanga massage, or a shirodhara massage, should be performed. Small cotton bags filled with the special type of rice are dipped in milk and an herbal paste, which is then applied on the body. Downward strokes are used from the neck to lower back and from the hips to the feet. The application of the bags helps lead to the production of heat in the body, which in turn leads to sweating. This massage is highly effective in providing relief from pain, inflammation, and stiffness. It is recommended that this massage therapy be performed on a daily basis for 7 to 21 days.

Benefits

  • Relief from muscular pain and stiff joints
  • Helpful in the treatment of arthritis and spondylolisthesis
  • Enhances joint flexibility
  • Helps correct imbalance of doshas Improved blood circulation

Njavarakhi is done under the supervision of an experienced Ayurvedic practitioner. Proper diagnosis and skilled therapy will lead to the best results.

7. Ubtan and Elakizhi

In this Ayurvedic massage herbal products are used specifically to increase the skin quality. It enhances skin structure and revitalizes the skin. It is a beauty and skin solution that can make you appear fresh and beautiful.

Procedure

This massage is a potli treatment process where a combination of herbal leaves are tied in a cloth bag. A hot Ayurvedic oil is applied using this potli which relieves pain and stiffness. The duration of this therapy ranges from 30 to 40 minutes. Elakizhi massage is highly effective in the treatment of illnesses related to bones and joints.

Benefits

  • Relieves body pain and stiffness
  • Moisturizes dry skin
  • Enhances skin complexion
  • Helps in sprains and sports injuries
  • Increases muscle strength

Panchakarma

The types of massages described above can also be performed in conjunction with panchakarma, which is a very important aspect of Ayurvedic therapy.

In particular, panchakarma is a five step procedure which supports and facilitates a complete rejuvenation of the mind and body. It consists of steam baths, removal of toxins, a special diet known as the kichari diet, and other purifying practices. Panchakarma works at a deeper level, eliminating toxins from all channels of your body. It is an extreme detoxifying therapy that can transform you into a completely renewed person.

Panchakarma - The Rejuvenating Process

The word Panchakarma is derived from Sanskrit, which means “five actions”. It is a unique process that is designed to meet individual needs. Panchakarma begins with an initial consultation, where the therapy is determined based on your dosha, immunity, digestive strength and other health factors. You will be required to stay in the Panchakarma facility for a required time period, which ranges from 5 to 21 days.

Most commonly followed steps include:

    • Daily massage with warm oil (abhyanga)
    • Herbal steam bath (swedana)
    • Herbal enemas (basti)
    • Lymphatic massage
    • Nasal irrigation (nasya)
    • Other treatments

      Benefits of Panchakarma

      The sole purpose of Panchakarma is purification. Your body will release the toxins accumulated over many years. It is the ultimate way of balancing your doshas and healing your body. In fact, a scientific study conducted on panchakarma treatment has revealed that it reduces anxiety and brings a significant improvement in quality of life. Panchakarma acts as a preventative measure in healthy people and works as a curative therapy in illness.

      Some of the other benefits include:

      • Removal of toxins from the entire body
      • Rebalancing of the doshas
      • Improved immunity
      • Stress reduction and deep relaxation
      • Anti-aging effects
      • Body tissue rejuvenation
      • Stronger digestive system
      • Enhanced meditation and mindfulness

      Who needs Panchakarma?

      Anyone can choose to perform this detox therapy. Most of us would benefit from panchakarma, given that our bodies are continuously creating toxins and therefore in need of cleansing.

      Some of the signs which may help you determine that you need panchakarma therapy include the following:

      • Fatigue, particularly if you feel tired all day
      • Body pain
      • Bad breath
      • Flatulence
      • Disturbed or foggy mind
      • Diarrhea or constipation

      Panchakarma is a natural detoxifying therapy that brings the body back into balance and helps restore its vitality. During a panchakarma series, a variety of the Ayurvedic massages described above are typically carried out.

      Marmas and Chakras

      Ayurvedic massage brings awareness to the marmas and chakras of our body. Marmas are natural energy points that are connected to the nerve endings in our bodies. Working on these marma points can help revitalize the body. Pain and weakness assemble in these points which can then be manipulated and reduced during Ayurvedic massage.

      There are seven chakras which act as centres in our body through which our energy flows. According to Ayurveda, each chakra nourishes the body’s organs, and when a chakra is blocked illness can result. An Ayurvedic massage opens up these chakras allowing the free flow of energy and vitality.

      An Ayurvedic massage commonly ends with a body scrub with herbal ubtan, which helps nourish the body’s tissues and assists in the removal of the oil. In addition, a steam bath can be offered, which can help enhance the absorption of the oil into the skin.

      Conclusion

      Ayurvedic massage can have numerous health benefits. At a minimum, frequent Ayurvedic oil massage is recommended to remove the stress and toxins accumulated in the body. It will make your body and mind relaxed and soothed.

      If you are looking for a way to experience some of the benefits of ayurvedic massage at home, considering using an acupressure mat. 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. Learn more about the origin of acupressure mats, how to use an acupressure mat, and the benefits.

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      Eight Different Ways to Use Your Acupressure Mat

      Eight Different Ways to Use Your Acupressure Mat

      Acupressure mats permit excellent self-treatment which can be easily performed in the comfort of your own home. Although laying down on an acupressure mat may be the most popular way to use it, did you know that an acupressure mat can be used to target many other areas of the body? In this post, we discuss various different acupressure mat positions, how to best use your mat in those positions, and the positive health effects of each respective position.

      Back

      Place your mat on a flat surface, preferably on the floor. Lie down on it, and make sure that the entire surface of your back is well-rested on the mat. If you want to feel more pressure against your lower back, simply bend your knees (i.e. tent them) or place a pillow under your knees. Using the acupressure mat in this position for at least 20 minutes will relieve pain between your shoulder blades and even in the small of your back. When done prior to sleeping, this position will also help improve the quality of your sleep.

      Stomach

      Place your stomach flat on the mat, with your arms crossed under your head or on your side if you are resting on a pillow. You may wear thin clothing if the sensation is too much for you. Staying in this position for at least 20 minutes will relax your body as well as boost your digestion.

      Neck & Shoulders

      To improve the mat’s contact with your neck and shoulders, roll up a towel and place it under the mat in the area where your neck and shoulders are intended to make contact with the mat. The mat’s contact points need to align with the curve of your neck, and its pressure should be evenly distributed along your neck and shoulders. Relaxing in this position for at least 20 minutes will provide relief against neck and shoulder pain.

      Hips & Thighs

      Place your mat on a flat surface, preferably the floor. Lie down on your side, making sure that the mat is perfectly positioned under your hip and thigh. Do this for approximately 10 minutes on each side, and adjust your body to achieve the desired pressure. Not only will this position relax your hips, but it will also help reduce the appearance of cellulite if done on a regular basis.

      Lower Back & Buttocks

      Position your mat under your body in such a way that it covers both your lower back and buttocks. For increased pressure against your lower back, place a rolled towel under your knees, or bend them up (i.e. tent them) with your feet resting flat on the surface. Holding this position for at least 20 minutes will provide relief against symptoms of pain or tightening in the sciatic area.

      Buttocks & Thighs

      You can get into this position by either sitting on the floor or on a hard chair. If done on a chair, you can increase the pressure of the mat against the back of your thighs by reaching for your toes. If you have used your mat for a while and have grown accustomed to the sensation, you may also consider bringing your mat to your workplace. This position is great for providing relaxation during long hours at work.

      Face

      Acupressure mat treatments for the face can be done in two ways. The first approach is to rest the side of your face on the mat. The second approach is to gently press the mat against the side of your face, jaw and jaw-bones using your hand. Treat each side for only 1 to 2 minutes. Although direct contact is more beneficial, you may also place a thin cloth between your face and the surface if the sensation is too intense for you. This position has many benefits, including removing tension in the jaw and neck area, reducing lymph stagnation, reducing the appearance of wrinkles and giving your face a more radiant look.

      Feet

      Place your mat on the floor and stand on it, preferably with bare feet. You may also put a thin cloth on top of the mat, or wear socks if the sensation is too strong for you. After a while, gently lift one foot up while maintaining your stance; this will increase the beneficial effect of the mat on the various pressure points of your foot. Do this for a total of 10 minutes. This position provides a type of healing called reflexology and is perfect for pain associated with plantar fasciitis.

      Final Thoughts

      By now, you are likely aware of the wonders of acupressure mats and the incredible healing effects they can have on various parts of your body. Using an acupressure mat means far fewer visits to a massage or physical therapist, but more importantly, regularly using an acupressure mat will provide you with a general sense of well-being. If you are a firm believer of holistic medicine, you should make an acupressure mat a staple in your wellness routine. For more information on this subject, read our ultimate guide to acupressure mats.

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