Acupressure is a traditional Chinese medicine method of healing based on the use of gentle physical pressure. It is applied with your hands, elbows or feet on specific points on your body, known as pressure points, to assist in the body's natural healing response. Pressure points are believed to correspond to various mental and physical conditions, including stress and anxiety. Self-message on certain pressure points may help reduce stress and invoke feelings of relaxation.
The pressure point located between your eyes on your forehead is connected to your pineal gland, according to the Dr. Oz Show. Stimulating this pressure point may help increase your body's production of melatonin, a hormone responsible for regulating sleep and other bodily processes, as well as regulating the stress hormone cortisol. Too much exposure to stress can increase cortisol levels, which can decrease melatonin. To help induce relaxation and stress relief, massage this point using your fingertips, starting on the area right between your eyebrows, then working your way back along your brow line.
Your ears contain several stress-relieving pressure points. Gently massaging your earlobes and the rims of your ears may help relax your facial muscles and promote stress relief. Using your forefinger and thumb, gently pull your earlobes down, holding this stretch for a few seconds, then use your fingertips and thumb to massage the earlobe. Continue to move up your earlobe using small, circular motions, slowly making your way upward to the top of your ear. Reverse this process, ending by pulling your earlobe down again for a few seconds.
Base of the Skull
Massaging the two pressure points located at the base of your skull can help alleviate stress and help you relax, according to the Wisconsin DHFS Caregiver Project. Interlace your fingers behind your head and rest the weight of your head in your hands. Using your thumbs, find the small bumps located at the base of your skull on either side. The pressure points are located just below these bumps. Apply gentle pressure with your thumbs to this area, massaging the base of your skull using small, circular motions.
On your wrist near the base of your hand is another crucial pressure point for relaxation and stress relief. Massaging this point can help you relax, calm your mind and regulate your heartbeat, according to traditional Chinese medical practitioner Matthew Scott's website, Chinese Holistic Health Exercises. Hold your left wrist in your right hand, palm facing up. Press the point located on the center of your left wrist, about 2 inches below the base of your right hand, using your right thumb. Apply firm pressure and massage this point using small, circular motions.
Ashley Miller is a licensed social worker, psychotherapist, certified Reiki practitioner, yoga enthusiast and aromatherapist. She has also worked as an employee assistance program counselor and a substance-abuse professional. Miller holds a Master of Social Work and has extensive training in mental health diagnosis, as well as child and adolescent psychotherapy. She also has a bachelor's degree in music.