A lot, if not all of us, can agree that the past year has been a whirlwind. Feeling stressed, tense, or fatigued? Yeah, us too. Last year, Google searches for self-care, anxiety, and CBD were at an all-time high, and the focus on physical and mental wellness isn’t slowing down anytime soon. We’ve been looking for outlets to release our stress and ease our tension, and turned to traditional Chinese Medicine, specifically acupressure to help us. We spoke to Dr. Debbie Kung, DAOM, LAc., to learn more about acupressure, Chinese Medicine, and how they can benefit your overall health. After leaving a career in fashion, Dr. Kung turned to acupuncture, felt a huge shift that essentially changed her life, and is now helping others with her own learnings.
What is acupressure?
“Acupressure is a more subtle form of acupuncture,” she says. “It’s based on the idea of Qi circulating the body. When your Qi (life force energy) circulates and flows smoothly in the body, you are healthy and well-balanced. It’s when the Qi flow becomes “stuck” or “weak” resulting in uneven Qi flow—that’s when ailments start to occur.” Dr. Kung further explains that because Chinese Medicine is a holistic medicine, acupressure can impact multiple ailments anywhere from migraines to infertility to some chronic diseases as well.
There are specific points on your body that, when combined with others, help to relieve pain, lower inflammation, boost Qi circulation, and help make you feel better. “Acupressure points ARE acupuncture points,” she says. “The only difference is you’re not using a needle but instead, massaging that specific point for treatment.”
By massaging and applying pressure on these points for several minutes regularly throughout the day, acupressure can improve your overall general health.
- Improved circulation (no more cold hands and feet)
- Increased energy
- Improved digestion
- Better quality of sleep
- Mental clarity
- Lower blood pressure
- Relaxation of tight muscles and fascia
- Regulated menstrual symptoms
- Pain reduction pain during labor
- Expedited healing of injured joints
- Reduced body pain and inflammation
- And what Dr. Kung calls the best part—an overall feeling of calmness and centeredness
5 Acupressure Points for Better Health
1. “For stress, my go-to is a point located near the third eye between the eyebrows—it’s a point called Yin Tang.” By pressing it, it can activate your prefrontal cortex of the brain which dictates cognitive behavior, decision making, emotions, and attention span. It will naturally calm you down. This works especially well for children and pets.
2. “For better digestion, I use a point called Stomach 36—it’s located a few inches below the kneecap anterior to the fibula bone.” Massaging this point will boost and regulate digestion and even help boost your immune system as well. (Gut health= immune health)
3. “For energy, Ren 6 is the point to go-to—the Daoist monks recognized this one to not only stimulate more energy for the body but also as a libido booster.” It’s located right underneath the belly button, about two fingers breadth below.
4. “For better complexion of the face, my go-to is Large Intestine 4—this multifunctional point helps boost blood flow to the face (which carries nutrients) creating an improved nourished face and skin.” This point is also used for any head or neck issues such as headaches, TMJ, and neck pain.
5. “For better sleep, there’s a point located halfway behind the ear lobe and the base of your occiput called Anmian.” Massaging this area prior to bedtime can induce more peaceful sleep.
When to Try It
The second you feel like your body could use a release, it’s time to consider acupressure and practice it regularly. “While it can depend on the severity of the ailment but normally I would recommend 4-6 times a week, twice a day,” she says. While this may seem like a lot, Dr. Kung reminds of that the human body simply doesn’t heal overnight. Acupressure works with your body’s natural healing process. “That’s why you want to do it often and regularly until you feel and see relief.”