Acupressure is hardly new—in fact, it's a component of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) that's been around for thousands of years. Similar to acupuncture, acupressure stimulates points across the body that correspond to various ailments or conditions in an effort to help quell everything from jaw tension and constipation to stress. But how does acupressure work?
"Stimulation of acupressure points also increases circulation, which helps to relax tight muscles, or bring blood flow to an organ, depending on where the point is located." —Shari Auth, DACM, LAc
"There are hundreds of pressure points, or acupoints, on the body,” says Shari Auth, DACM, LAc, a holistic health practitioner in New York City and co-founder of WTHN. "Acupoints are located where blood, nerve, lymph and connective tissue meet. Stimulating an acupoint sends a message to the brain that alters brain chemistry and tells the body to react to achieve a desired result. For example, an acupressure point that corresponds to stress could trigger the brain to lower cortisol levels—our stress hormone—while increasing dopamine and serotonin levels—our happy hormones. Stimulation of acupressure points also increases circulation, which helps to relax tight muscles, or bring blood flow to an organ, depending on where the point is located."
- Shari Auth, DACM, licensed acupuncturist, traditional Chinese medicine expert, and co-founder of WTHN
Thanks to this muscle-soothing, circulation-boosting application of acupressure, the practice can be effective to stop your stomach from doing somersaults. Below, Auth recommends to use two acupressure points for nausea. And, of course, if you have sustained levels of discomfort, see a medical professional to decide on the best treatment plan for you.
2 acupressure points for nausea to provide quick relief
1. Pericardium 6
"Pericardium 6 is famous for nausea. It's so widely used that you can buy a small wrist band that puts pressure on this point to help with nausea," says Auth. "Bonus: It's also great for calming anxiety and helping you sleep."
To find your Pericardium 6, look on the inside of the forearm between the two ropey tendons a couple inches up from the wrist. When properly stimulated, this should help lower the noise in our stomach and your mind.
"Use your thumb to press into the point and breathe," says Auth. "Apply firm but comfortable pressure. Move your thumb in circular motion and take 10 deep breaths while you are applying pressure, then switch and do the other wrist."
2. Stomach 36
"Stomach 36 is one of the most powerful acupoints in the body," says Auth."A natural energizer and digestive cureall, it’s no wonder acupuncturists use it so frequently. Stomach 36 is great for regulating digestion, reducing bloating and gas, and relieving nausea."
Because Stomach 36 is a big acupressure point, Auth recommends using two fingers to dig deep into this point. You'll find Stomach 36 located on (plot twist) not your stomach. Instead, look to the space at the top of the shin, a palm's length below your knee.
"Gradually apply pressure using a circular motion—don’t be afraid to apply deep pressure here," she says. "You should not experience any pain, but should feel some sensation. As the resistance releases gradually apply more pressure. Breath slowly and deeply as you do this and then switch sides. Keep rubbing until you feel a release in the area."
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