Many people suffer from anxiety and panic attacks. Symptoms vary but heart palpitations, worry, sweating palms and racing thoughts are common reactions. As the body kicks on the sympathetic nervous system, the fight or flight response is activated. Acupuncture and acupressure can be used to switch the body from sympathetic to parasympathetic, or the rest and digest system.
Teach your body that you are not being attacked by a saber tooth tiger and halt the sympathetic nervous system response.
The ear is full of great acupressure points, over 100 of them. In general, just rubbing the inside of both ears produces a calming feeling. One great point to add is shen men or “spirit gate”. Found at the pointed corner of the triangle in the top of the ear (see picture) this point is for anxiety, sleeplessness and calming. Taking your thumb and forefinger and pinching this spot should result in relaxation and quieting of the mind.
The hand and arm houses the heart meridian, or line of energy that travels to the heart. In Chinese medicine, the heart is responsible for sleep and anxiety. By pressing on the heart meridian, we can activate the relaxation that comes with peaceful sleep. The heart meridian travels from the inside of the pinky up the inside of the forearm, elbow, and ends in the arm pit. Internal branches of the meridian complete the energy flow by ending in the internal organ of the heart. You can massage this whole line from pinky to upper arm or use your thumb to apply pressure all along it. Also pinching the pinky finger at the tip will address the heart and anxiety.
The bottom of our feet connects us to the earth. By reconnecting with the earth we balance our mood and reduce too many thoughts in our heads, which often lead to anxiety. Find the point, Kidney 1 or “bubbling spring” by squeezing the big toe and pinky toes together. This folding of the foot while create a sinking hole in the bottom on the foot about 1/3 of the way from the toes to the heel. By pressing on this point, focusing the direction toward the head, we reduce stress and reconnect with our roots. Try this point everyday before your feet hit the ground from your bed for longevity and peace.
Now that you have the tools to use acupuncture points to reduce anxiety, you can use them during an acute attack or preventatively. For more amazing acupuncture points, see a nationally board certified and licensed acupuncturist near you, www.acupunctureinvermont.com