The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine recently used 39 medical students to test how applying pressure to acupressure stimulation points would either wake up or relax students stuck in all-day lectures.
Points for acupressure stimulation:

* The top of the head

* The top of the back of the neck on both sides

On the back of the hands in between the thumb and forefinger

* Just
below both knees

* On the bottom of the feet — at the center just
below the balls of the feet
Points for acupressure relaxation:

* Between the eyebrows

* Just behind
the earlobes

* On the front of the wrists

* On the lower legs above the
ankles and toward the midline

* On the top of the feet in between the
large and second toes
Students stimulated those points by tapping their fingers lightly on
the area or by massaging the points between a thumb and forefinger. 50%
of the students in the study used the stimulation technique one day
followed by two days of the relaxation point massage while the other
half reversed the method.

All students reported feeling more alert on
the days they activated their stimulation points with pressure.
I believe the lesson here is while using stimulation points to get you
alert you during the day like a jolt of caffeine is fine on a
reasonable basis; you should not rely on that method as a routine for
staying alert.

If you are always feeling tired, worn away and
stressed-out, you should actually use relaxation points to naturally
dampen your anxiety and bring yourself into a calm place where you can
think clearly and get some sleep. Using relaxation as a pathway to
being alert allows you to be clear the next day without active point
stimulation. I would be wary of over-stimulating the alert points
because, like the fight or flight response, the body is not meant to
always be on edge and active. Using any sort of manual or artificial
stimulation to call up an alert response should be sparingly used.

mind-body connection works best when both extremes are consciously
maintained at neutral because having two opposite responses available
to recall at will — the alert and the relaxed — without having to
forever live at either end, is the true meaning of being centered.


  1. I meditate every day. I think that helps me center. I feel relaxed and alert after.

  2. Who is Om? Does he hire out? ha. Just kidding, David. I have a favorite place where I sit in my bedroom and I use a blend of essential oils which I inhale while I breathe deeply. Knowing how to breathe correctly goes a long way in relaxation. Many people are chest breathers and don’t realise it. They don’t get enough oxygen exchanged into their lungs.
    Watch the way babies breathe and you’ll notice their bellies breathe from down deep. It comes naturally to them. Our stress keeps us from doing it that way and we become shallow breathers.

  3. Wonderful advice, Paula!
    I love your relaxation setup. It is fantastic and inspirational!
    You can even lose weight with a deep-breath regimen on a daily basis.

  4. Is it okay if my favorite meditation place is in a bubble bath? 🙂
    Seriously though, I’ve been trying to develop some sort of schedule that incorporates some exercise, some yoga and some meditation – but it’s so hard!
    If I could have just an extra six hours in the day! 🙂

  5. Hey Carla!
    Oh, a bubble bath is one of the great ways to get into a relaxed state. They are warm and wonderful and a good bath opens up your insides and lets the blood flow more freely. Your blood pressure goes down.
    I like your effort to set a three tiered schedule. My advice is to start simple. Do one of them one day every other day. Don’t try to do all three on the same day or every day. Start off doing them for 5 minutes. Then raise it by five minutes every couple of weeks or by the month. There’s no rush to good health and serenity so it’s better to do it — even briefly — than to not do it at all.

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