By Kristin Yancy
We know, we know, all you skeptics out there are already shaking your heads. But acupuncture has been around for thousands of years (over 5000, to be exact), and many people find this ancient Chinese medical practice improves their sense of health and balance. The philosophy behind acupuncture is based on the concept that stimulating specific energy points will help alleviate pain and other physical symptoms in the body. Acupuncture accomplishes this process with needles; acupressure mimics these ideas with touch.
Intriguing isn’t it? As dancers, we experience daily the extraordinary things the human body can do– why wouldn’t it be equipped with a mechanism that could help us heal ourselves? And while good acupuncture sessions can be pricey (not to mention the idea of lying on a table covered in needles might understandably make you squeamish), acupressure is something you can do yourself. Here are three basic pressure points to get you started:
1.) “Welcome Fragrance”
Allergies got you down? Sinuses a mess? Try this: place your fingers on either side of your face, where your cheek meets your nose, the pressure point known as “Welcome Fragrance.” Apply even pressure for 3 minutes.
2.) “Gate of the Spirit”
The “Gate of the Spirit” is best known for treating emotional stress and anxiety. For this reason, it is also used to treat insomnia. Turn your left hand palm up, and press your thumb on the crease of your wrist directly below your pinky finger. Hold for five minutes and then switch hands (I also have used this to alleviate tension in my neck and shoulders after a full day of carrying heavy bags).
3.) “Valley of Harmony”
Activating this pressure point is said to benefit the immune system, revitalize energy, and help relieve pain caused by a wide variety of ailments. The “Valley of Harmony” can be found at the “V” between your thumb and index finger. Apply a moderate amount of pressure with your opposite thumb and forefinger, and hold for two minutes. Switch sides.
Easy right? Try ’em out! You may find yourself loving this alternative route to a balanced, healthy lifestyle. Go forth and prosper!
Thanks to Dr. Oz for the starter guide to pressure points!