Acupressure and Anxiety Reduction 

By: Megan Schalk

Acupressure is a Chinese medical technique that involves applying pressure to various pressure points on the body (Honda et al., 2012). It has been proven effective in reducing pain from physical illnesses, injuries, and surgical operations. Though acupressure has a long ancient history, it is a relatively new technique for managing mild to moderate anxiety. However, research shows that utilizing acupressure correctly and routinely decreases anxiety symptoms.

Understanding your symptoms 

Post-Pandemic, approximately 27%, or 1 in 4 adults in the United States, experience anxiety symptoms, while only 36% of individuals seek treatment. Symptoms of anxiety are


    • Feeling out of control 

    • Feelings of panic, fear, or worry

    • Nausea, stomach upset, digestive issues. 

    • Distractibility 

    • Headaches 

    • Fatigue 

    • Muscle tension 

    • Sleep disturbances (falling asleep or staying asleep) 


Acupressure Points

Many of the acupressure techniques below are achievable on your own. However, incorporating a trusting partner can enhance the experience.

Third Eye/ Yin Tang

This pressure point is located between the eyebrows, much like the Third Eye, hence its name. This point said to relieve headaches, restlessness, and insomnia.

To activate this point:

  1. Find a comfortable place to sit and close your eyes.
  2. Take slow deep breaths and apply firm pressure (do not press so hard as to cause discomfort) and massage in small circles for up to five minutes.

Union Valley/ Hegu

The point is in the webbed area between your index finger and thumb. This point is used to relieve headaches, stress, shoulder, and neck pain.

Warning: can induce labor, do not use while pregnant. 

To activate this point:

  1. With you index finger and thumb pinch the webbing on the other hand.

While using deep breathing, apply pressure and massage for four to five seconds.

Inner Frontier/ Nei Guan

This point is measured three finger lengths under the wrist in a hollow between the tendons. Activating this point is used to reduce pain, anxiety and nausea.

To activate this point:

  1. Turn your arm palm side up
  2. Measure three finger lengths from your wrist
  3. Apply pressure and massage for four to five seconds.

Shoulder Well/ Jian Jing

Warning: Can induce labor, do not attempt while pregnant

This point is located between your neck and shoulder cap. This point is often used to reduce anxiety, muscle tension and headaches.

To active this point:

  1. Find the point in your shoulder, this spot may be tender depending on your level of tension.
  2. Pinch the spot between your index finger and thumb.
  3. Apply steady pressure and kneed the spot for four to five seconds.
Honda, Y., Tsuda, A., & Horiuchi, S. (2012). Four-week self-administered acupressure improves depressive mood. Psychology, 3, 802.