Anxiety is a natural human emotion and we've all experienced it before. It's normal to feel nervous, worried, and stressed. But sometimes anxiety can get out of control and cause problems.
If you suffer from any anxiety, then you may benefit from a natural remedy, acupressure. Learn how this Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) can utilize pressure points to help you relax and calm down.
In this article, I'll explain the most common pressure point locations for anxiety relief, as well as how to apply pressure to them to reduce your anxiety.
What is Anxiety
Anxiety is a feeling of uneasiness or fear that causes people to feel nervous, worried, or uneasy. People who suffer from anxiety often experience symptoms such as restlessness, muscle tension, difficulty concentrating, fatigue, nausea, shortness of breath, and panic attacks.
We often first experience anxiety in our minds, but it can then translate into physical symptoms. For example, if you're anxious about a test or presentation at work, you might have trouble focusing on what you're doing.
You might also be unable to sit still, which could lead to fidgeting. Your breathing may even become shallow and rapid, causing you to hyperventilate. These physical signs indicate that you're experiencing anxiety.
The good news is that there are ways to relieve anxiety naturally. Many people use acupressure to treat their anxiety and ease emotional distress. Acupressure and its cousin acupuncture have been staples of Chinese medicine for centuries and involves applying pressure to specific areas.
10 Pressure Points for Anxiety Relief
There are a number of pressure points that can offer relief from anxiety. Follow these simple steps for the pressure points below to self-massage:
- Place your thumb, or 1-2 fingers on the pressure point. Common fingers are the index and middle fingers.
- Apply firm pressure on the point and hold for 5 seconds. While applying pressure, take slow, deep breaths.
- Gently massage using a circular motion for 2 minutes.
- Repeat the pressure on your other hand, arm, leg, or other body part.
You can stimulate pressure points throughout the day during times of stress and anxiety. There is no need to set a schedule for acupressure.
1. Governor Vessel 20 (GV 20) - Hundred Meetings
The GV 20 point is located on the top of your head and will help with relieving anxiety and several of its symptoms. This point is used to promote relaxation and ease stress.
The Hundred Meetings point is located on the center of the top of your head. Draw a line from your forehead to the back of your head. Then draw a line from one ear to the other. The point where these two lines meet is the GV 20 point.
2. Governor Vessel 24.5 (GV 24.5) - The Third Eye
The GV 24.5 acupressure point, also known as the Yintang point, is found in the middle of your eyebrows.
This point will help relieve anxiety and stress. It will relieve other anxiety-related symptoms like insomnia, eyestrain, restlessness, and sinus pressure pain.
3. Large Intestine (LI 4) - Hegu
The LI 4 pressure point is found in the groove between your thumb and index finger. This is a common point to relieve anxiety, headaches, and neck pain.
4. Large Intestine (LI 10) - Shou San Li
The LI 10 pressure point is located on the outside of your forearm when you bend the arm 90 degrees. Measure 3 finger widths the elbow crease.
Stimulating this point will help with general anxiety, shoulder pain, and neck stiffness.
5. Pericardium 6 (PC 6 or P 6) - Neiguan
The PC 6 acupressure point is found 3 finger widths from your wrist crease on the inside of your forearm and wrist, between two large tendons.
This pressure point helps to relieve insomnia, anxiety, and nausea. It will help to calm your mind and is especially helpful with motion sickness symptoms.
6. Heart 7 (HT 7) - Shenmen or Spirit Gate
The HT 7 is a popular pressure point on the wrist for anxiety and stress. The points will also help relieve anxiety-related symptoms like insomnia, irritability, and chest palpitations.
This point is found on the inner wrist crease. Follow the pinkie finger down to the wrist and the point is in the depression at the crease.
7. Lung 9 (LU 9) - Great Abyss
The LU 9 pressure point is also found on the inner wrist crease by following the thumb down to the wrist.
It's also known as the Great Abyss because it will help the feeling of falling into an abyss and getting trapped. This point will help relieve anxiety, palpitations, coughing, and asthma.
8. Conception Vessel 17 (CV 17) - Chest Center
The CV 17 acupressure point will relieve anxiety and panic attacks, along with chest congestion and heart palpitations. It is also a popular point to focus on before going to sleep because it can help relieve stress before going to bed.
The point is located in a depression in the middle of the sternum. It's on a similar lateral level as your nipple.
9. Gallbladder 21 (GB 21) - Shoulder Well
The GB 21 points are found on both of your shoulders, between the base of your neck and the end of your shoulders.
This point helps to relieve stress, headaches, and muscle tension in your neck and shoulders.
10. Liver 3 (LV 3) - Great Surge
The LV 3 pressure points are located on the top of your feet between the tendons of your big and second toes. The points are in the depressions between the two toes.
This is one of the best pressure points to use to calm emotions, especially for anxiety, stress, anger, and irritability.
Does Acupressure for Anxiety Really Work?
Acupressure has been used for thousands of years to treat physical and mental ailments. However, there are few scientific studies that show the effects of acupressure has on anxiety relief. The studies that have been conducted offer promising results.
A 2015 study of hospitalized cancer patients saw that acupressure therapy helped reduce the anxiety they had during treatment.
Another study in 2015 showed that acupressure relieved anxiety in patients before they underwent a medical procedure, like surgery.
A study in 2016 revealed that patients who had severe menstrual pain had decreased anxiety after stimulating the Great Surge (LV 3) pressure point.
There are many people who say that acupressure helped them overcome their anxiety. Acupressure provides temporary relief, but you can continue to self-massage pressure points throughout the day to maintain its effectiveness.
When to See a Doctor for Anxiety
If you're experiencing severe anxiety symptoms or other emotional problems, see a doctor. A trained professional can provide you with effective treatment options. They'll be able to diagnose any potential underlying health conditions that may be causing your anxiety.
You should see a doctor, therapist, or other qualified healthcare provider if:
- You've tried all natural remedies without success.
- Your anxiety symptoms last longer than 4 weeks.
- You have trouble sleeping.
- You have chronic anxiety.
- You have panic attacks.
- You have feelings of depression.
- You are having suicidal thoughts.
Pressure Points for Anxiety Final Thoughts
Acupressure is an easy way to get relief from anxiety without disrupting your daily life. You don't need to spend money on expensive medications or therapies. All you need is a pair of hands and the right places to apply pressure.
Remember, though, that while acupressure works well for some people, it won't work for everyone. If you aren't getting better with acupressure alone, then you might want to try seeing a doctor.
When looking to apply acupressure yourself, there are acupressure tools that can help with accessing and stimulating pressure points. Kanjo offers a few popular acupressure products:
- Acupressure Mat and Pillow Set
- Acupressure Foot Pain Relief Multi-Roller
- Acupressure Travel Neck Pillow
Pressure Points for Anxiety FAQs
Can a Massage Trigger Anxiety?
Massages can trigger anxiety in people who have claustrophobia or fear of being touched by strangers. Massages are meant to also relax muscles and tension, which can release a wave of emotions, which can lead to anxiety depending on the person.
Can Anxiety be Cured Naturally?
Anxiety can be relieved with natural remedies, but anxiety cannot be completely cured. Anxiety is part of the human condition. It's not something that can be eliminated entirely. You can reduce anxiety through a number of relaxation methods, including acupressure, acupuncture, meditation, yoga, breathing exercises, massage, and others.
Does Massage Help Panic Attacks?
Massage therapy can help people relax, relieve stress, reduce anxiety, and help with panic attacks. Massage therapists use different techniques to help their clients feel better by releasing the tension in their bodies. These include deep tissue massages, reflexology, trigger point therapy, and more.
- Healthline: https://www.healthline.com/health/pressure-points-for-anxiety
- Medical News Today: https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/6-pressure-points-for-anxiety
- York Chiropractic: https://yorkchiropractic.net/5-acupoints-for-anxiety-you-can-administer-yourself/
- Balance Charleston: https://balancecharleston.com/blog/2020/4/5/7-acupressure-points-for-stress-anxiety-relief