Using Acupressure Points as a Calming and Self-help Strategy

Acupressure is an adaptation of acupuncture.  Acupuncture is an ancient healing intervention.  Though recently western science has been able to pinpoint the ways that electricity moves within the human body, many world cultures held this knowledge intuitively.   Here’s a simple analogy.  Sometimes there’ is a “short” in electrical wiring.  The signal doesn’t flow smoothly due to a break in connection along the way.  Sometimes we might use duct-tape to keep the connection intact so that the electricity can move smoothly.  It is understood that some, perhaps many, mental and physical ailments can be seen as problems with the electricity flow in the human body, problems with the electrical flow.  Energy clogs or too much energy can manifest as depression, muscle aches, nausea, panic, etc.  Stimulation of certain points on meridians, energy pathways, can get the electricity flowing smoothly again.  Acupuncture is administered by a trained professional and uses the insertion of tiny needles into certain points on a meridian.  Acupressure is the application of light touch, tapping, and/or sometimes circular movement of a finger on a certain point on a meridian.  Here are some examples to try.

The Emergency Acupressure Point

You can use your dominant or your non-dominant index finger for this movement.  Using your index finger, touch the back of your other hand.  Put your finger between the pinky joint and the ring-finger joint where these joints meet the back of your hand.  Move your finger slightly toward your wrist, about a quarter of an inch.  There’s a slight groove or depression there.  Leave your finger lightly touching this spot for a few seconds.  Many people have reported that they feel a relaxing of the body: breathing slows down, shoulders relax, etc.  You can use this in public and no one will notice.  This is great for times such as: nervousness at a meeting, standing in a long line, while on the phone with someone, etc.

Knee Points

There are several points surrounding your knees.  There are also several points on the many parts of your hands.  Bringing these together can smooth out energy flow.  When you have a couple of minutes of quiet time (really, it only takes 1-2 minutes), sit with both feet on the floor.  Place your palms over and slightly at the top of your knee cap.  You can feel your kneecap; it’s sort of circular.  Now, drape your fingers over the top part of your lower leg.  Spread your fingers out.  Each finger will stimulate a point as well as a point on your palm will be stimulating a point on your knee.  Hold this position for a few minutes.  This position can be used in conjunction with meditation, prayer, or other mindfulness exercises.

Nausea/motion sickness points

You can spend money on pills or ‘nausea bands’ or you can learn to stimulate your acupressure points for free!  Do this to find the points near your wrists.  Either wrist will work.  Turn your hand so that your palm is facing you.  Bend/flex your wrist; you can see the wrinkles there.  Place the three middle fingers of your other hand crosswise on your wrist with your ring finger at the bend.  This gives you the distance from the wrist bend to the point.  The tip of your index finger will be at the acupressure point.  You can lightly touch this point, or you can lightly bounce your finger against the skin.  Do this for a few seconds to a minute.  Many people report a reduction in nausea.  Also, for double the action, you can simply lay the inner surfaces of your wrists against each other so that the two points are touching each other.

Pictures of 6 pressure points that alleviate anxiety (

Written by Carrie Hunter, LMFT

Carrie Hunter is a therapist at New Hope Counseling.  She is a certified EMDR therapist and EMDR consultant.  She specializes in working with adults who are LGBTQ, have experienced dissociation, religious trauma, or complex trauma.

New Hope Counseling, Therapy for Anxiety and depression in Louisville, Kentucky

Decreasing Anxiety and Depression

Many clients ask me for tools to begin helping to decrease their anxiety and depression. Research shows that one thing you can do is slow down and appreciate one thing at a time. Our rush to do many things at once keeps us from appreciating and savoring each aspect of our lives.

Try doing one activity and focus on only that activity. For example, slowing down to fully appreciate a meal. Savor each bite and appreciate the aroma, fullness and warmth from the food, creates happiness. We miss this everyday in our busy rush of checking cell phones, going to meetings, and heading out the door. Doing this can give you time, not only to slow the rush of life but to allow you to increase the moments of happiness and appreciation during your day. This may seem small but adds up to have an effect.

Take the time to choose at least one or two things each day to slow down to be completed with no distractions, such as talking to your partner or friend, watching television, reading, taking a bath, etc. Truly take the time to appreciate the moment and savor it without judgment. Don’t get disappointed if it does not go your way. Life is full of ups and downs, you will have another chance. You will begin to see changes in your mood.

I think I might just go savor a hot cup of tea.

For more information, you can contact New Hope Counseling by calling 502-712-9406.