A How To Guide to Acupressure: What is it? How does it help? Alternatives to pressure.

Acupressure: What the heck is it?

Acupressure is a technique using gentle pressure from your fingertips on points on the body to bring you back into balance. Acupressure is the method that acupuncture evolved from. It is pretty easy to learn and safe to practice.

So…just to clarify how do I do this?

All you have to do is figure out what point you want to do, find it on your body, and apply gentle pressure at that point with your fingertip.

How long do I hold the point for and how many times a day?

In an ideal world you would hold it 3 to 5 minutes, 2-3x a day. However, that isn’t feasible for everyone so I just say do what you can! The perfect time to practice acupressure: while you watch TV, when you’re stressed at work, if you take a bath – when you’re in the bathtub, etc. I’ve done acupressure on myself when waiting in the endless line at the DMV — good times.

So the more pressure the better, right?

No, these spots can be incredibly tender so if you are putting as much pressure as you can your other muscles are going to tense, prohibiting flow of qi (and we want excellent qi flow!). Not to mention, your fingers will tire easily and then acupressure will become tiresome and a chore instead of empowering and helpful! So do what pressure feels best for you and that you can maintain.

Any other tips?

Yes, if you don’t want to do a straight hold of pressure doing a pulsing pressure or massage the point. If you find an incredibly tender spot it can be beneficial to start with massaging or pulsing on the point. Usually some of the tenderness will alleviate.

What does it mean when the spot is tender?

It means you’re stagnant in that spot — qi is not flowing freely. So if you have a spot on you that feels tender even if you don’t know what point it is, use acupressure on it! Getting qi to flow anywhere on your body is going to be incredibly helpful to you!

What if I want the benefits of acupressure but can’t stand the pressure part?

Acupressure points are incredibly valuable, but you can use other things besides pressure on those points to get similar effects.

For instance, we’ve all had those nights where you just can’t sleep because your thoughts are racing. Acupressure can help but what if it’s just not enough? Sometimes holding or pulsing on a point is just not conducive to falling asleep.

So…what do you do instead?

Once you have a point in mind, if it’s an easy point for you to rest a finger on while you fall asleep imagine sending light into the point.

But what if it’s not an easy point to rest your finger on?

Then I use tiny crystals or magnets. I keep a set of tiny crystals on a jewelry plate near my bed. I choose a crystal and put it on the point and attach it there with either a BandAid or a piece of tape and then fall asleep. You can also do this during the day.

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