While the holiday season can be a time of great joy, cozy time spent with loved ones, and delicious food, for many it can also be characterized by extra stress, extended travel, overstimulation, and grief. Acupressure is a wonderful TCM practice that can bring immediate support for a wide variety of issues, including mood, improved sleep quality, immunity, headache relief, and digestion. Paired with deep breaths, this simple and intentional way of connecting to oneself through touch can promote a profound sense of relaxation and energy balance.
Acupressure utilizes an understanding of TCM’s meridian channels to target specific points (meridian points) that correspond to our bodily systems and organs. When these points are gently stimulated, communication is established and energy is released, often in a very felt sense for both emotional and physical benefit. Spending a few minutes intentionally connecting to ourselves in this way is such a nourishing, accessible ritual that reminds us of the power of our own participation in restoring balance.
Our facial reflexology tool elevates the sensory pleasure of acupressure while alleviating pressure from the hands, which can feel so sore and overworked by the end of the year. This tool is compact and easy to whip out on long drives, during moments of stress, or for a few moments of decompression at the end of the day. However, even if you don’t have an acupressure wand, you can still experience the benefits of this practice by using your fingers to stimulate specific points on the face, ears, and beyond! Massage the following points slowly, while using light pressure for 1-3 minutes each.
Utilizing a circular motion to massage the circumference of the third eye, the bottom part of which is just between the eyebrows, this point promotes relaxation and presence, helps soothe anxiety, and relieves tired and overstimulated eyes. It also helps alleviate sinus pain, headaches, and congestion, making it one of the most popular and well-rounded points, commonly used in acupuncture treatments.
Following the outer edge of the nostril, trace your laugh lines until you notice any points of tenderness and then either hold the tool on that spot while breathing gently, or stimulate it using a gentle circular motion. This is especially great for winter and the dryness we experience this season, as it also helps lubricate the joints and skin.
Using wide circular motions progressing downward, follow your laugh lines from the bottom outer edge of the nostrils down to the jaw to support optimal digestion and tame the inflammation that can arise when indulging in rich holiday feasts and straying from typical dietary choices. Repeat on the other side!
The Spirit Gate point, located in the hollow point near the outer edge of the meeting place between the palm and wrist, helps quiet the mind and relieves feelings of restlessness that can impair restful sleep. Try this when you’re trying to wind down for the night, feel agitated, or anxious.
Our bodies are covered in meridian points, which we can also think of as little portals that unlock Qi and promote healing across the interconnections inherent to our bodies. These points are especially concentrated in the face, hands, and feet, such that engaging in simple and intuitive touch on these body parts can have profound effects. Follow the tension, use your acupressure wand or finger to either apply a bit of pressure or gently massage, and take deep breaths. Your body-mind-spirit will thank you.