Soothing Acupressure Massage Tips
Feeling hot and bothered, unable to soothe your inner stress? Don't fret. Traditional Chinese medical doctors share tips for massaging acupressure points to instantly restore calm to your mood and a smile to your face.
Soothing Acupressure Massage TipsBy I-hua Li
"Cultivating the heart" is the highest level of attainment in traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) health practice. Maintaining an even temperament and emotional stability present the greatest challenges.
The late Dr. Ma Kuang-ya, a top TCM liver specialist who lived to the age of 92, always greeted everyone with a smile. No matter how many patients he had, he never complained, and never got angry. One of his secrets for maintaining emotional equanimity was an acupressure massage right after getting up each morning.
Former presidential adviser Chen Li-fu, who lived to the age of 103, gave himself a full body massage each day while bathing. Not only did he enjoy robust health, but he also rarely ever became angry.
Professor Shen Yi-chung, director of the Department of Traditional Chinese Medical Treatment at the Taipei Municipal Institute of Traditional Medicine, explains that massaging acupressure points and patting channels can free blood flow and calm both body and mind. It also happens to be the method he uses for soothing the mind and restoring bodily harmony. Dr. Shen recommends applying pressure to the following acupressure points whenever you're feeling melancholy, agitated, or over-excited.
If these points feel a little sore, painful, swollen, or tingly when manipulated, you should be able to take the edge off your mood.
Bai Hui Point: located at the vertex above the ears at the crown of the skull, it can alleviate headaches and nausea caused by stress and aid relaxation.
Yin Tang Point: If you're feeling down and a little blue, try applying pressure to the yin tang point between the brows on the forehead to take you out of the doldrums and brighten your mood.
Nei Guan Point: The nei guan point that runs two inches up the arm from the crease of the wrist can not only alleviate gas, but soothe heart palpitations, ease insomnia, and nervous tension. When feeling stressed, press this point with your opposite thumb to unravel that "bundle of nerves" feeling.
Tai Chong Point: Located on the liver pathway, the tai chong point can be found at the junction of the bones of the big toe and second toe. Dr. Shen says that locating and manipulating lower body pressure points can direct the blood and qi downwards and restore calm. "When your system has an excess of ‘fiery energy', applying pressure to this point is very effective," he relates.
For best results, use abdominal breathing while manipulating acupressure points, using soft, slow, even, and long inhalation and exhalation to best settle the mind and achieve relaxation.
All-day massage tips without memorizing pressure points
If you'd rather not fuss with memorizing acupressure points, traditional Chinese medicine has an approach known as "missing the points, not the channels." As the phrase implies, it means that even if you do not massage the precise points, as long as you target the general vicinity you will derive some benefit, as the points lie along the same channel. Dr. Shen likens channels to a highway, where the acupressure points are toll stations. "As long as you remember how to follow the road, you don't need to memorize the names of all the tolls," he says.
Three simple massage techniques to promote optimal health:
1. Stimulate head and face upon waking
The head is the convergence point of many pathways. Prior to getting up each morning, lie in bed and tap your head over a large area with your fingertips. This promotes blood circulation, alertness, and clear thinking. This manipulation is known in traditional Chinese medicine as "sounding the skull," after the percussive tapping.
Next, massage the face. Traditional Chinese medicine holds that "the heart controls the mind; its essence is manifested on the face." Moreover, many bodily channels reach the facial area. Thus, accessing the main facial structural features can regulate optimal flow through the blood and energy channels.
Begin with the area around the eyes. Press the area around the eye sockets with the fleshy side of your thumbs, working from inside out. The area covered includes the zan zhu point just outside the bridge of the nose above the eye sockets at the inside edge of the eyebrows, the jing ming point at the inside corner of the eyes, and the taiyang (sun) point commonly known in English as the temples on either side of the forehead.
Moving downward, rub your hands together to produce heat and cup your nose with your hands to prevent dizziness caused by stuffiness resulting from cold air entering the nasal cavity.
Next, deliberately clamp your teeth together with force, then slowly release. This action activates the blood vessels in the head and neck.
Next, apply pressure to ear points: the ears are a microcosm of the entire body's acupressure points, loaded with various points. Just tugging the earlobes has a salubrious effect.
2. Busy hands at work
There are many acupressure points on the hands. Whether during a meeting, sitting before a computer screen, or even riding an elevator, the simple actions of gripping the hands together at the "v" between thumb and forefinger, clasping the hands with interwoven fingers, or clapping can stimulate points like the hegu (the area at the top of the web of flesh between thumb and index finger) and laoguan (the point accessed by folding the middle finger into the palm) that influence moods.
When you are enjoying a performance and it comes time to applaud, clapping extra vigorously can give you a little boost to the health in addition to showing your appreciation and making the occasion more boisterous.
Evening full body massage
Before retiring to bed for the night you can do a full-body massage. Making a fist with your right hand, begin from your left abdomen, thumping lightly as the fist moves upward to the chest, proceeding to the inner and outer sides of the arm, then from the left shoulder to the left side of the waist, outer left side of the leg, and after reaching the top of the foot, returning to the chest along the inner side of the leg. Repeat the same actions with the left hand on the right side of the body.
If you have poor circulation at the joints, strike a few more times for greater benefit.
Translated from the Chinese by David Toman