You may have heard of acupressure, the application of gentle (and sometimes firm) pressure to different points of the body in an effort to cure or calm a disorder. It may seem like some kind of magic or fake therapy, and you wouldn’t be alone in that suspicion.
But did you know that there have been a number of studies into acupressure of late that seem to indicate that at least some of what this Eastern technique has to teach might be just what the doctor ordered? And it might lead to better sleep.
The Concept of Chi
Acupressure practitioners refer to something known as Chi or Qi, which is an energy that circulates throughout the body. The belief of acupressure is that blockages in these energy pathways, known as meridians, stop the flow of Chi and can lead to a host of problems, including pain, insomnia, and chronic illness.
When you visit the office of an acupuncture practitioner, they will apply pressure to parts of your body to remove the blockages and make you feel better.
Does Acupressure Work?
There have been some studies done in recent years which show that acupressure (and its cousin acupuncture) have an effect on your overall health and sense of wellbeing. While it’s too soon to say conclusively that this is a legitimate medical treatment, there is definitely a reason to believe that it can have an effect–even if that effect is a placebo.
How Can Acupressure Help Me Sleep?
The following acupressure points may help with some of your ailments, and you may find that you’ll be sleeping like a baby and waking up fully rested in no time.
An Mian is the acupressure neck pressure point for treating insomnia. Practitioners say they may also reduce anxiety and headaches. The points are on either side of the neck.
While you lay in bed, feel behind your ear with two fingers. You can do one side at a time or both sides together. Just behind the earlobe, there is a bony lump.
Apply gentle pressure to this area, rubbing slightly in circles. According to Eastern medicine practitioners, this can calm the body and are pressure points for anxiety and even depression, allowing for a better night’s sleep. Other people say that it merely has a calming effect and that they don’t believe in acupressure–they just like the relaxation of rubbing their neck as they fall asleep.
Shen Men is a pressure point on the wrist, at the bottom of the palm of the hand. To work this pressure point, while you relax in your Gel Memory Foam bed, bend your hand to you to form a crease in your wrist. Place the thumb of your opposite hand on the part of that crease that is closest to your pinky finger and apply firm pressure.
There has been medical work done having to do with this pressure point. In 2010, a study was done to treat insomnia in patients over 50 who were in long-term care facilities. The study was preliminary but showed positive results. The results lasted not only during the study but up to two weeks after the acupressure treatment was stopped.
A second study, this one from the Aging Clinical and Experimental Research journal in 2014, found that therapy to Shen Men corrected sleep disorders in patients with Alzheimer’s Disease. It was found that rubbing in a circular motion was calming the mind.
San Yin Jiao
Traditional Chinese medicine teaches that this acupressure, which they say has been done for thousands of years, can help with insomnia, menstrual cramps, and urinary problems. This point is located on the leg. To find it, locate the top of the ankle, and then measure four finger-widths up to the highest point above the ankle.
Before you scoff at this one, there is a study in the Journal of American Medicine Oncology from 2016, which showed that pressure to these specific points helped to treat the chronic fatigue, poor sleep, and low quality of life of breast cancer survivors. Of the 288 participants in the trial, 60% of the women had experienced significant sleep quality and quality of life changes after six weeks.
This is a facial pressure point, which is believed to help with sinus congestion and sinus infection. It can also help with fear, agitation, and restlessness. This sinus pressure point is in the center of the eyebrows above the nose.
It is believed that this facial acupressure, when done steadily and smoothly, will relieve stress and help achieve a better night’s sleep, as well as relieve sinus pressure.
There are many more acupressure points, including back pressure points that you would need a partner to help with, but this is a good introductory guide to help you get into this ancient Eastern practice. It may be only a placebo, but studies have shown that it helps. If you really want to help improve your sleep, shop one of our memory foam mattresses to help relieve pressure and provide a good night’s sleep.
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