As we navigate the new normal of staying home, working from home and parenting from home, the state of constant uncertainty and transition can take a toll on our mental and emotional health.
Adjusting to the times is something that we all have had to do, and I am happy to share tools to help you combat the mental and emotional stress you might be feeling. I’ve been guiding my patients on how to do acupressure on themselves through virtual Traditional Chinese Medicine Sessions and supplementary YouTube videos.
Acupressure is a similar technique to acupuncture, but instead of needles, you use your hands to manipulate acupuncture points on the body. A systematic review of studies found it can be just as effective as acupuncture: various outcomes included managing nausea and vomiting, reducing pain, and decreasing insomnia and fatigue.
During these times, I developed a COVID-19 survival kit to help those that are sick and unable to leave home. This kit has been critical in preventing and treating symptoms related to the disease. I also recommend using acupressure for anyone who is looking to de-stress and relieve the tension that can build up in your body after long hours in front of the computer.
Acupressure works by firmly pressing trigger points on the body so that you feel a slight tenderness. This creates clear pathways in which energy can flow throughout the organs of the body, helping to contribute to boosting the body’s own natural ability to metabolize, boost immunity, and relieve stress. Combined with meditative breathing techniques, it’s a sure-fire way to relax.
You can work on specific acupressure points yourself by using your thumb and pressing each point for a minimum of 30 seconds with a clockwise circular pressure and doing 5-10 deep breaths for each point you press.
These are my top five acupressure points that I recommend to my patients:
Location: Top of the Wrist
Meridian: Outer Gate Point
Benefits: Boosts immunity and energy levels
Location: In Between Eyebrows
Meridian: Hall of Impression Point
Benefits: Relieves stress and anxiety
Location: The Upper Shell of your Ear
Meridian: Heavenly Gate Point
Benefits: Relieves anxiety and stress, reduces incidences of insomnia
Location: The Crease of Your Wrist Between Pinky and Ring Finger
Meridian: Heart 7
Benefits: Reduces anxiety, depression and insomnia
Location: Outside of your Hand Below Pinky Finger
Meridian: Small Intestine 3
Benefits: Relieves neck pain, earaches and headaches
In addition to acupressure, there are other ways you can incorporate self help into your routine. It’s key to manage your routine—wake up and get dressed even though you are working from home and only have video meetings. Make sure to maintain a schedule, as our body has its own natural circadian rhythm, and when there is too much transition it can be very hard for the body to self-regulate.
In Traditional Chinese Medicine, the heart and mind are one, known as Shen. Eat foods that look like hearts such as raspberries, tomatoes and strawberries are nourishing. Foods high in magnesium can help to contribute to calming the mind and alleviating stress.
When our bodies’ organs and energy pathways are working in harmony, our body has the ability to fight off disease and sickness. It is imperative that we have tools to combat mental and emotional stress, otherwise, they can become physical symptoms.