For those days when nothing seems to calm your anxieties, pressure points for stress relief may soothe your symptoms. If you're unfamiliar with the concept of acupressure, you're not alone. The practice, which some liken to acupuncture without the needles, has been used for centuries in Eastern medicine. It will take time to learn all the pressure points, but knowing the "hand valley point" is a good starting place if you want to reduce stress fast wherever you are.
"Acupressure works to stimulate specific points along a meridian (which are basically energy highways in the body) to clear away energetic blockages, speeding up the body’s own healing response," Leng Tang-Ritchie, DAOM, a faculty member at Pacific College of Oriental Medicine, told Elite Daily. Massaging a pressure point, like the hand valley point, helps unblock those pathways.
The hand valley point, also known as pressure point "LI4" or "He Gu" in Chinese, is the highest point on the muscle when your thumb and index finger touch. According to Tang-Ritchie, it's the "most well-known to the public," and it is "an exceptional point to alleviate headaches, particularly migraines and tension headaches," as well as "a range of symptoms from toothaches to constipation, pain in the jaw, and general body pain."
"To find this particular pressure point, locate the area between your thumb and pointer finger — it's a small spot, about the size of a nickel," said Sherrie Campbell, PhD, author of the book Success Equations: A Path to Living an Emotionally Wealthy Life ($12.16, Amazon). "Once you find this soft spot, all you have to do is apply continuous pressure with your thumb and index finger using your other hand." As you apply pressure for four to five seconds, Dr. Campbell recommends deep breathing exercises. "Self-visualize your body relaxing and letting go of any stress or pain you are experiencing."
The next time your work is piling up at the office or you're stressing every Thanksgiving mishap scenario that will ruin Turkey Day when your in-laws visit, grab your other hand and give your hand valley point a long, gentle squeeze. After all, one major benefit of acupressure as a treatment for stress is that you can basically do it yourself. Plus, it's noninvasive and doesn't involve medications, so there are few side effects if done properly. Seriously — what's stopping you from giving this pressure point a try?