The peripheral, sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems in your body are responsible for calming the nervous system. The peripheral system controls involuntary nervous responses such as heartbeat and digestion, the sympathetic system initiates your fight-or-flight response to stress and the parasympathetic tells your body when to relax. Acupressure points promote a synergistic relationship between these systems by removing roadblocks along internal meridians, or your body’s energy channels.
When it comes to anxiety, many researchers believe the limbic system’s amygdala -- a collection of nuclei in temporal lobe -- controls the main fear circuit. You can help to relieve fear responses of the amygdala by applying deep strokes of pressure to acupressure point P6, which is approximately three finger-widths from the interior top of the wrist in the hollow between the bones of the forearm. Point H7, the hollow just above the wrist bone, is also beneficial.
Sleeping problems have been linked to a number of medical issues. University of Minnesota Medical School neurology professor Mark Mahowald adds that "one complete night of sleep deprivation is as impairing in simulated driving tests as a legally intoxicating blood-alcohol level.” Applying pressure to acupressure point GB20, just below the base of the skull between the hollow between the two main muscles on the left side and GV16 at the center of the skull base, can help to relieve insomnia.
Depression is most common in middle age because of declines in serotonin receptors that generally occur after the age of 20. There are several acupressure points that help to relieve depression symptoms. Begin by applying circular strokes to pressure point GV20, located at the center of the top of the head. Additional pressure points are TW15 -- located at the inner top corner of the shoulder blades -- and Ying Tang, located in the dip directly between the eyes.
Memory & Concentration
Emotional and physical responses to stress are set into motion by a series of chemical reactions. These reactions are governed by the limbic system, and prolonged limbic stress has been associated with memory and concentration loss. Pressure points TW15, GB20 and Ying Tang also work to relieve meridian blockages that cause memory and concentration issues. GV26, a pressure point located in the hollow between the nose and upper lip, is also beneficial, according to AcupressureOnline.org.
- The Franklin Institute: Renew: Stress on the Brain
- Acupressureonline.org: Anxiety Attacks and Nervousness
- The Franklin Institute: Sleep and Stress
- Acupressureonline.org: Insomnia
- The Franklin Institute: Receptors Decline with Age
- Acupressureonline.org: Depression
- Acupressureonline.org: Memory and Concentration
Based near America's "Gateway to the West," Li St. Michael has been writing professionally since 2005. Her culturally minded articles have appeared on various websites. St. Michael holds a Bachelor of Science in writing from Drury University and is set to receive a Masters degree in international relations in 2011.