We all have our own ways of dealing with stress. Some people escape to a sunny beach, some prefer a nice glass of wine, and others even do their best to ignore it. Each way has its advantages (and disadvantages), but we can’t always do what's best at the exact moment we need to. This is where pressure points become a quick and effective long-term solution. Pressure points are areas in the body that can trigger various physical and mental effects when pressure is applied to them.
1. The Scalp
The scalp is full of pressure points, many that can effectively and discretely reduce stress levels. You can sit at your office desk, lean back and use two fingers to massage the point where the neck meets the skull for about 20 seconds. Much of the stress we accumulate during the day collects in the shoulders and neck muscles, and applying pressure to this point can relieve much of it.
2. The Ear
This pressure point is known as Shen Men (The Spirit Gate), and some experts claim it’s the best stress-relieving point in the body. In reflexology, it’s also used to reduce inflammation and pain throughout the body. It’s recommended that you massage this spot with a cotton bud or even a pen, and to take deep, slow breaths during the massage.
3. The Chest
Stress can make us forget to breathe, or take shallow breaths. This point helps reduce the stress that accumulates in your chest, while reminding you to breathe normally again. Use three fingers to massage this point, or one finger to tap rhythmically on the area while taking deep breaths. If you experience chronic stress, combine massaging this point with the point between your eyebrows. The connection between these two points helps to calm the nervous system.
4. The Stomach
Many reflexologists prefer to use this point because it helps create movement that frees the chest and diaphragm, which improves the breathing process. Patients who have this treatment instinctively take deeper breaths and almost always report a sensation of relief.
5. The Forearm
This is a classic spot for reflexology and acupuncture. Stress and anxiety create reverse energy flow in the body, which this spot is supposed to repair. It helps your energy to move in the right direction while aiding your mental focus and reducing stress.
6. The Palm
The moment you press on this spot, you’ll feel your stress evaporating. It is located on one of the most important meridians (an energy channel), which affects the heart, liver, and pancreas. It's believed that much of the stress we experience is stored in the liver, so applying pressure on this point is highly effective. It is also a great spot for treating headaches, stomachaches, indigestion, and insomnia – all of which could be symptoms of stress.
7. The Calves
If you feel stress in the upper part of your body, massaging this spot is perfect. The area could be quite tender in people who deal with a lot of stress - women in particular.
8. The Foot
Pressure on this point can help ease a stressed mind that over-obsesses a certain worry. Some reflexologists believe that this is the best meridian for treating the pancreas and that its location, at the center of the foot, helps patients reduce stress and pay better attention to their bodies.