Press to de-stress: Easy acupressure techniques

Looking for a way to de-stress during Phase 3 — especially when you’re short on time or money (or both)? Try self-acupressure. This Chinese healing technique stimulates your energy meridians — the invisible currents of energy in your body — to rebalance and release blockages that may be causing symptoms like nausea, headaches and muscle tension. Some acupressure points are also particularly good for releasing stress.

Fingers, avocados and golf balls

If you’ve ever heard of people “tapping” to relieve stress or anxiety, they’re actually tapping their fingers on some of the acupressure points we’re about to cover. But tapping isn’t the only way to use these acupressure techniques. You can also practice breathing deeply as you apply firm pressure — enough so you feel it, but not enough that it hurts — and hold it for a minute or more.

Try using your thumb or middle finger to apply firm, gradually increasing pressure to your acupressure points. If that’s uncomfortable or you find it hard to exert enough force, you can use almost anything with a smooth, rounded point: Your knuckle, a clean avocado pit, a golf ball, or a nubby self-massage tool.

Here are some of the best acupressure points for soothing stress.

The Inner Gate

This acupressure point is located between the bones and tendons on the underside of your forearm, two to three finger-widths down from the crease of your wrist. This is the same point stimulated by acupressure wristbands that combat nausea and morning sickness. Use your thumb for this one, applying firm, gradually increasing pressure and (if desired) kneading it in a gentle, circular motion.

The Spirit Gate

The Spirit Gate acupressure point is also on the underside of your wrist; use it to combat fear, nervousness and insomnia. Find it right under the crease of your wrist, just inside the tendon on the pinky finger side of your forearm. Apply firm, gentle pressure or knead in a circular motion for a minute or more.

The Hall of Impression

Also known as the Third Eye Point, the Hall of Impression is right between your eyebrows. Apply gentle, continuing pressure here to calm yourself or ease your way into sleep. This is also a very common point for “tapping” to relieve anxiety and calm your mind; give it a try by lightly and rapidly tapping your brow ridge, right between your eyebrows, with your fingertips.

Gushing Spring

There are acupressure points all over your body — in fact, there’s one called Gushing Spring on the bottom of your foot. This point is also great for treating insomnia, and generally calming and grounding yourself.

Find it by resting the ankle of one foot on the opposite knee, then using your thumb to apply moderate pressure between the second and third metatarsals (the long bones that run from the arch of your foot to your toes) for a couple of minutes. Having trouble finding it? It’s just below the spot where the two “lobes” of the ball of your foot come together.

Sea of Tranquility

Another acupressure point commonly used for “tapping” is the center of the breastbone, right where there’s a slight dip in the bone. If you have trouble finding it this way, measure three to four finger-widths up from the bottom of your sternum, or right between the nipples for men.

This is the point to use for quick relief from stress and anxiety. Flatten one hand and press the tips of your fingers (thumb up) against the Sea of Tranquility point as you focus on deep breathing.