Editor’s note: Wellness Word is an informational column which is not meant to replace a health care professional’s diagnosis, treatment or medication.
Acupressure and Essential Oils For Stress Management
We are living in uncertain and challenging times. You don’t have to look far to find news filled with fear, violence and heartbreak. It is hard to not feel deeply affected by all of this. So many of us are suffering from anxiety, anger, depression, chronic stress and nervous systems that are frazzled and frayed. We need tools that can support and nourish us as we move through our own and our collective growing pains.
By slowing down and taking time for self-care we can use these challenges as opportunities to learn more about ourselves and begin to develop and create strength from within. Essential Oils and the ancient, energetic wisdom of acupuncture and acupressure are powerful allies for us during these times.
It’s likely that you’ve heard the same recommendations from western medicine doctors over and over. Take this pill; try to reduce your stress levels; let’s run some more blood tests; let’s schedule an appointment with a therapist. Maybe nothing’s coming up abnormal, or maybe you’ve gotten an alarming diagnosis. Either way, you know it’s time to start learning better methods of taking care of yourself.
There are so many ways that stress affects our health and wellbeing. Modern science has shown that chronic stress causes health problems, such as high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity and diabetes. In my practice there are four main areas that I have witnessed stress play itself out on the body causing pain, digestive, sleep and immune issues. It is likely that you have experienced at least one of these and maybe all four.
The good news is that there are simple, safe, accessible alternatives; ways of caring for ourselves through stressful times that we can begin practicing right now. Essential oils and acupressure are two of these ways. Below you will find a few protocols to start using today that will support your nervous system, your sleep, your digestion and immune system.
Aromatherapy uses essential oils extracted from every part of certain plants, flowers, roots, and bark. Even just inhaling the scent of these oils can stimulate brain function and bring about feelings of relaxation and comfort. When placed on specific acupuncture points, essential oils have the added bonus of transmitting a directed message to a targeted area of the body. These oils when used properly can be very safe with minimal side effects.
For great safety information check out The National Association for Holistic Aromatherapy at naha.org.
Some suggestions for using oils. Always consult a practitioner.
• Pain/Nervous system tension:
Bergamot Oil on Shen Men – powerfully clears tension from the nervous system. (Place your fingertip lightly in the small triangular indent at the top of the ear) Has a cleansing effect on stagnant feeling as well as limiting beliefs and belief systems. It is a great anti-depressant.
• Digestive Complaints:
Atlas Cedar wood – very tonifying and strengthening for the digestive system. (Three inches below the kneecap in the belly of the muscle on your outer shin)
Good for people who don’t allow support by friends or family, or community. Assists with feelings of belonging, and assists the heart in opening to receive love and support, helps to establish flow in relationships. (Good for people who are constant givers)
• Sleep Issues:
Geranium – when treating sleep issues, it works both on supporting and nourishing as well as releasing any heat that may be agitating the spirit causing restlessness or anxiety. (Three inches above your inner ankle bone in the middle of your leg) Works on the Liver/Heart/Spleen tonifies the blood and Qi and harmonizes the Shen. Also, it’s a sweet oil, which makes it a regulating, harmonizing and restoring.
• Immune Challenges:
Rosemary really gives the immune system a nice boost, when you use it, you are helping release the exterior or push out a pathogen.
(In the center of the muscle on your hand between the thumb and pointer finger or with the elbow flexed press on the lower, outer edge of the crease on the top of the arm near the elbow)
Physiologically, Rosemary is a respiratory stimulant, mucus expectorant, anti-infectant, digestive stimulant, detoxicant, CNS restorative and pain reliever.
It is helpful to have tools in your toolbox that will support you through difficult times. Stress may be inevitable but how we deal with and relate to it is a choice each of us gets to make everyday. These simple self-care techniques will have a profound effect on your overall wellbeing and you can begin applying them to your life right now.
Aiden Seraphim LAc., 819 SE Morrison St. #140