Speaking to, Dr Chris Fehres from Acupuncture Sherwood, a registered acupuncturist who studied at Endeavour College of Natural Health, I've come to admit there are a whole lot more productive ways to relieve stress than pulling your hair out, mindlessly stuffing your face, or chomping away at your cuticles. One of which involves putting your hands to use with a technique that has a whole lot of other benefits, like nipping your muscle pain in the bud.
"Acupressure points can be found all over the body. While there are specific locations for many points, anywhere you press on the body to create a dull, pleasurable pressure sensation will have some beneficial effect," explains Dr Fehres. "You can apply pressure to an arm or leg to relieve pain in that area, release knots in tight muscles, or just to provide an overall sense of relaxation."
To find out more, we asked Dr Fehres some of your most-googled questions.
How many points are there in acupressure?
There are over 350 traditional acupuncture points, all of which can be stimulated with the use of acupressure. These points were originally mapped out by ancient Chinese physicians in a time before human anatomy was fully understood. We now know that acupuncture and acupressure work by stimulating the nervous system and the body's innate healing responses.
What pressure point helps you fall asleep?
There are a number of great points to help with a good night's sleep but there are three in particular that can really help calm us down. Traditionally these points are called Yintang, Taiyang and Anmian.
Yintang is located on the brow line right between the eyebrows (what some people refer to as the 'third eye'). Taiyang is located on the sides of the head in the temple region. And Anmian (meaning 'peaceful sleep') is located just behind the ears at the base of the skull. The great thing about using acupressure to stimulate these points is that you don't have to be too specific. Just rubbing the region for a minute or five will activate these points and help relax the body and mind.
Does acupressure have any side effects?
No! You can use acupressure for as long as you like without having to worry about any adverse reactions. If you are sensitive to the pressure, you can simply stop.
How long does acupressure take to work?
It depends on what you are using it for, but you can usually feel the effects pretty quickly. Massaging the points for sleep on the head will help to relax you within just seconds to minutes so they're great to have up your sleeve if you have moments of stress throughout your day. Take a few minutes for yourself and use these points to help get over those hectic work hurdles.
Can you do acupressure on yourself?
Yes! That's the great thing about acupressure. Anyone can administer it themselves if they are in need of some on-the-spot TLC. However, if you can get a friend or partner to do it for you, the benefits increase even more because human touch releases more oxytocin - the love hormone - than if you do it yourself.
What pressure points help with stress relief?
Aside from the three points on the head mentioned earlier, one of the easiest points to use to reduce stress is located in the fleshy part between the thumb and forefinger traditionally known as Large Intestine 4. Stimulating any acupressure point releases oxytocin - the love hormone - which helps to counteract the effects of cortisol - the stress hormone. But some points, like Large Intestine 4, release more oxytocin than others. This is why using specific acupressure points can really help to reduce stress and boost health.
Here's how to get that stress relief going:
1. To stimulate Large intestine 4 with acupressure, hold either hand out with your thumb and forefinger separated so it looks like a capital 'L'.
2. With the thumb and forefinger of your other hand, squeeze the fleshy part in the angle of the L so that you feel a heavy or dull sensation. It should be strong but not uncomfortable so adjust your pressure accordingly. You can do this for as little or as long as you like, but 30 seconds to a minute is a good starting point. If you don't feel the effects straight away, just keep pressing, you can't overdo it! This is also one of the main points acupuncturists use to treat headaches so it's a great one to have on hand.
Want to know more?
If you can't get enough and are interested in pursuing a career in acupuncture, Endeavour College offers a course specifically tailored to the field. You can attend their Open Day event which allows you to tour the campus, explore natural health courses, learn about student life, the enrolment process, fees as well as chat to our team of academics and Admissions Advisers on the day. Places are limited to ensure a COVID-safe environment, so secure your place here.