Holiday Help: Boost Energy, Improve Sleep, and Relieve Jet Lag With Acupressure

During this busy holiday season, you may find yourself dragging in the energy department, lacking in quality sleep, or suffering from the jet lag that comes from holiday travel. You can help heal all these issues with one action: Try pressing a powerful acupressure point.

You may not be familiar with acupressure, but you have probably heard of acupuncture, the 5000-year-old Chinese medical system that treats patients by inserting needles in the body at certain energy points to produce healing in the body. Acupressure follows the same principles as acupuncture, only you stimulate the energy points with your own fingers instead of needles.

There are thousands of research articles on acupuncture and acupressure; the overall takeaway is that these healing techniques encourage self-regulation that leads to a healthy balance in the body. Research has shown that acupuncture and acupressure exhibit effectiveness in treating a wide variety of conditions, including insomnia, lower back pain, arthritis, nausea, addiction, and diabetes — and that’s just the tip of the iceberg!

Press “Here” For More Energy

Acupressure is a strategy for supporting your energy level. There are many causes of low energy, but in Chinese medicine, declining energy is attributed to depletion of qi, or vital energy. One fundamental part of qi is the nourishment you feed your body: What you eat and how well your digestive system transforms your food into essential nutrients that fuel your cells and pave the way for abundant energy. Many organs work together to digest your food. In Chinese medicine, this collective function known as the spleen-pancreas-stomach network is believed to control the transformation, distribution, and storage of nourishment and energy for the whole body. The spleen works in combination with the stomach to perform digestion and absorption.

The Foot Three Mile (ST-36) acupoint, which is located on the stomach channel, is one of the most important points for tonifying vital energy and blood, as well as promoting general wellness. Said to regulate digestion and metabolism, stimulating this acupoint can help calm the mind, regulate sleep, and most importantly, strengthen the vital energy.

 

Find Foot Three Mile four finger-widths below your right knee, on the outside of your knee cap (locate the dot on the diagram). Apply moderate pressure with your thumb until you feel soreness. Hold for 5 minutes, and then repeat on your left leg.

The point is only about 0.5 mm in diameter, so be as precise as possible. Use your index finger or a ballpoint pen (with the lid on) to press the point. If you are not feeling any sensation, try different spots close to the area until you feel a slight soreness. Keep your pressure moderate, and be patient; you may need to perform acupressure on the same point a few times a day over the course of several days to feel the results.

Acupressure can sometimes be a gradual healing process. For best results, relax and breathe deeply during the acupressure.