By Kathy Bryant
As a long time advocate for cures to insomnia (read: the positive side of “suffering from”), I have tried a lot of different sleep remedies. White pills, yellow pills, blue pills (they’ll really put you in LaLa Land), exercising before bed, positive imaging, mantras, different sleep positions, going to bed and waking up at the same time, etc. All of them had their benefits and drawbacks, but I was not able to stick with any until now. Applying a few simple and quick acupressure points before bed has me knocked out until my alarm goes off — a sweet and welcome respite from many, many sleepless nights.
Acupressure, for those of you who haven’t tried it, is an ancient Chinese healing method where you place pressure on certain points of your body to release the qi, or energy, that has been built up or blocked. It provides a wonderfully easy and simple way to relieve many ailments like stress, pain, anxiety, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and lowered immunity among others. Here you will learn a few points for insomnia and some other techniques to help you relax into a deep and restful sleep.
There are several points to focus on for insomnia. The first two we will be looking at are called, “Joyful Sleep” and “Calm Sleep.” The point for joyful sleep is located on the inside of your leg just below the ankle (about a pinky finger’s width). Find the dip and place light to moderate pressure there with your thumb. An alternative to holding this point is to press three times then draw tiny circles three times, repeat two more times (total of three). Do whatever feels best to you.
“Calm Sleep” is found on the outside of the leg also just below the ankle. To find this one, rest your shin on top of your opposite knee, then reach down with your hand and rest your thumb on the joyful sleep point. Wrap your hand around the back of your heel. Next, let your other fingers fall naturally on the outside ankle. Your middle or pointer finger should fall exactly where the calm sleep point is (whichever falls “naturally” just below your ankle). Don’t worry about getting this exactly right. Just have the intent that it will work. Hold these two points for about two minutes.
Another important pressure point is the one that is in the corner of each eye to the side of the nose. This point is called “Eyes Bright.” Lightly place a finger there on each side of your nose and press up toward your brow. Hold this point for a minute. The last point we will focus on is called, “Mastoid Process,” located in the hollow behind the ear. If you take your hand and lay it on your head with your palm covering your cheek/touching your nose, then let your pointer finger naturally fall just under the lobe and behind the ear. It will lay about where the dip is. This point is especially good for insomnia created by stress and tension. Hold for a minute, then relax.
After you’ve held these four points, take a deep breath. Imagine yourself getting tired, open your mouth up and yawn, take another deep breath, and fake another yawn. Stretch your arms, your legs, roll your eyes in circles and then crisscross to the left and right (eye “stretches”), fake another yawn (are you starting to feel sleepy?). Doing these few points and steps is a great way to put you into relaxation mode.
Still don’t feel sleepy after trying this? You may need to look at other things you are doing. Things like eating habits, how you handle stress, your thought patterns and whether or not you’re taking medications can all affect how sensitive you are to acupressure and energy changes in your body in general. Practicing these tips will help change that and provide you with many benefits, the least of which are a good night’s sleep!
Kathy Bryant practices acupressure and is a Reiki Master Teacher. She owns and operates White Lotus Healing, a whole body-based healing business, out of her home and contracts with Renu Massage, Energy and Body Work part time.
References: AcuTouch Facial course. www.cherihaines.com. Cheri Haines.