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In Traditional Chinese medicine it is believed that the healing force of life flows within us, and we can manipulate it to treat certain problems, including sleep disorders. This ancient Chinese remedy uses certain points on the body to induce sleep. Those troubled by lack of sleep know that it can be a debilitating experience, affecting your memory and judgment. Seeking a cure in modern medicine is not always advisable as sleeping pills prescribed by doctors can lead to dependency, and in some cases, fatal addiction.

There are several natural cures that you could explore and one of the most effective option among them, is the use of acupressure points. All you have to do is massage some points on the body for treating problems. There are certain hospitals in the United States which have introduced this alternate healing technique to support their treatment plan, and many people prefer this technique over modern medicine.

Technique to Locate Acupressure Points

In acupressure, the unit of measurement to locate the points on the body is called cun. This technique is based on the understanding that each person has a different body shape and size, and one standard unit cannot locate the acupressure points in everyone. Therefore, each person uses his/her own body measurements to locate the exact point.
cun measurement

Figure (a): The width of the interphalangeal joint of your thumb is 1 cun.

Figure (b): When you bend your middle finger, the distance between the first and second crease at their widest point is also measured as 1 cun.

Figure (c): The first two fingers -- index and middle finger -- account for 1.5 cun.

Figure (d): The distance between the tip and the proximal interphalangeal joint of the index finger is equivalent to 2 cun.

Figure (e): The width of all the four fingers of the hand joined together, accounts for 3 cun.

Pressure Points to Induce Sleep

The technique is similar to acupuncture, but instead of using needles, you can apply pressure on the points with your fingers, hands, and elbows to alleviate your problems. Most of the points can be stimulated yourself, so you don't necessarily have to go to someone else for treatment. There are certain points that can be used to induce restful sleep by just massaging them for short period of time.

Index

Pericardium 6

The Chinese name for this point is Nei Guan. The English name for this point is Inner Pass. This pressure point is located 2 cun below the wrist crease on the inner side (as shown in the image below), and is known to calm the heart and spirit.

How to Stimulate the Point

Locate the point by measuring 2 cun below the wrist crease, in the middle of the arm.

Place the thumb of your other hand on the point, and press it.

Gently massage in slow rotatory movements.

You may also press the point directly for a minute or two.
pericardium 6

Pericardium 6 (PC 6) is one of the points located in the pericardium meridian of the body, which is associated with many functions of the body, including the heart. Acupressure associates lack of sleep to the imbalance in the heart system, which is why, stimulation of the point PC 6 effectively reduces stress, and relaxes the mind and body.

Heart 7

The Chinese name for this point is Shen Men. The English name for this point is Spirit Gate. This pressure point is located on the wrist crease in line with your little finger (as shown in the image below), and is known to calm the mind and heart, especially when surrounded by anxious thoughts.

How to Stimulate the Point

Locate the point by holding out your hand in front of you, with your palm facing the ceiling.

Place the thumb of your other hand on the point, and press it.

Gently massage in slow circular movements, while applying moderate pressure.

You may also press the point directly, or continue to massage for 5 minutes.

Heart 7 (HT 7) is one of the points located in the heart meridian of the body. Acupressure associates this point with insomnia caused by anxiety. The stimulation of this point eases the mind, strengthens the spirit, and regulates the heart by curbing the palpitations caused due to over thinking.

Kidney 1

The Chinese name for this point is Yongquan. The English name for this point is Gushing Spring. This pressure point is located on the sole of the foot in the depression under the ball of the foot between the second and the third metatarsal bone (as shown in the image below). This point is known to renew and vitalize the mind and body, thereby clearing the mind and draining all the exhausting energies from it.

How to Stimulate the Point

Before sleeping, sit on the edge of your bed by lifting your left foot and resting it on the knee of the right leg. This position will help you see and locate the point easily.

Do not bend over, keep your back as straight as possible. Place the thumb of your other hand on the point, and press the point to a degree where the pain is bearable.

Gently massage in slow rotatory movements. You may also press the point directly for a minute or two.

Repeat the aforementioned steps with the other foot.

Kidney 1 (KD 1) is one of the points located in the kidney meridian of the body. It is the only acupressure point located at the sole of the foot. The stimulation of this point has a calming effect on the body by enabling it to relax by eliminating all the restlessness, thereby inducing a peaceful sleep.

Kidney 6 and Urinary Bladder 62

The Chinese name for these two points are Zhaohai and Shen Mai, respectively. The English name for these points are Shining Sea and Extending Vessel. These pressure points are located the inner and outer sides of the legs, near the ankle area. The point Kidney 6 lies 1 cun below the medial malleolus (malleolus is the bony protrusion on either sides of the ankle), while UB 62 is located in the depression found below the external malleolus (as shown in the image below). Both these points are massaged together to calm the mind and create a sleep conducive mental state.


How to Stimulate These Points

Before sleeping, sit on the edge of your bed by lifting your right foot and resting it on the knee of the left foot. This position will help you see and locate these points easily.

Do not bend over, keep your back as straight as possible. Place the thumb of your other hand on one point and the middle or index finger on the other point.

Press the points to a degree where the pain is bearable. Gently press or lightly massage these points for a minute or two. Take long and slow deep breaths during the process.

Repeat the aforementioned steps with the other foot.

The stimulation of both these points (KD 6 and UB 62) has a stilling effect on the body. KD 6 is known to be helpful for sleeping, especially if your sleep is disturbed by nightmares. UB 62, when combined with KD 6, is helpful against insomnia caused by late night nervousness.

Gallbladder 20

The Chinese name for this point is Feng Chi. The English name for this point is Wind Pool. This pressure point is located on both sides, in the area where the neck muscles attach to the base of the skull (as shown in the image below). It is known to be one of the most useful acupressure points when it comes to treating insomnia.

How to Stimulate the Point

This point is located on depression found on both sides at the base of your skull. Place your thumbs on these depressions found on either sides. Bending your head slightly forward, and then backward again, would help you feel these depressions easily.

Place your thumbs on the GB 20 points and press them firmly. Close your eyes while doing so.

Gently massage in slow rotatory movements. You may also press the point directly for a minute or two.

Take deep breaths. Inhale long breaths, build up for a few seconds, and release the breath slowly.

Gallbladder 20 (GB 20) is one of the points located in the gallbladder meridian of the body. It is called Wind Pool due to its location, the depressions that may be interpreted as the pools present in the body's landscape. This point clears the head by driving away the negative effects of the interior and exterior wind and brings about a balance and relaxation to the nervous system, thereby helping one have an undisturbed sleep.

Urinary Bladder 10

The Chinese name for this point is Tian Zhu. The English name for this point is Celestial Pillar. This pressure point is located on both sides of the thick muscle at the nape of the neck (as shown in the diagram below). This point lies very close to GB 20. Please observe the diagrams carefully to avoid confusion. Like GB 20, the stimulation of this point is also effective for relaxation required to induce sleep.

How to Stimulate the Point

Place your thumbs on the points on both sides of the nape.

Press them firmly applying pressure till the pain is easily bearable. Close your eyes while doing so.

Gently massage in slow rotatory movements. You may also press the point directly for a minute or two.

Take deep breaths. Inhale long breaths, build up for a few seconds, and release the breathe slowly.
urinary bladder 10

Urinary bladder 10 (UB 10) is one of the points located in the urinary bladder meridian of the body. It is useful for dispelling the wind and clearing the blockage in the channels, thereby inducing a soothing effect on the mind and body, which promotes a healthy sleep.

Governing Vessel 16

The Chinese name for this point is Feng Fu. The English name for this point is Wind Mansion. This pressure point is in the middle of the nape of the neck, located 1 cun above the posterior hairline (as shown in the diagram below). This point is known to be helpful in clearing the mind from the unwanted fearful thoughts causing insomnia.

How to Stimulate the Point

Place your thumb on this point while closing your eyes.

Press the point firmly applying pressure till the pain is easily bearable.

Gently massage in slow rotatory movements. You may also press the point directly for a minute or two.

Take deep breaths during the process.

Governing Vessel 16 (GV 16) is one of the points located in the governing vessel (also known as 'Du Mai') meridian of the body. This point can also be abbreviated as Du 16. It is considered to be the main wind point, hence the English name, 'Wind Mansion'. GV 16 is also the point where the Governing Vessel, Yang Wei Vessel, and the Urinary Bladder Channel intersect together, making it one of the prominent points for treating various health issues, including insomnia.

Liver 3

The Chinese name for this point is Tai Chong. The English name for this point is Great Surge. This pressure point is located in the depression found in the junction between the first and second metatarsal bones (as shown in the diagram below). Liver 3 (LV 3) is the calming point of the troubles associated with anxiety, anger, irritation - all of these being counted among the main causes of insomnia.

How to Stimulate the Point

Place your thumb at the depression found between the first two metatarsal bones.

Press and firmly apply pressure till the pain is easily bearable.

Gently massage in slow rotatory movements. You may also press the point directly for a minute or two.

Repeat the aforementioned steps with the other foot.

Liver 3 (LV 3) is one of the points located in the liver meridian of the body. In Chinese medicine, liver is considered to be the most important organ associated with the nervous system. Therefore, this acupressure point is believed to be helpful in calming the nervous system to promote sleep.

Spleen 6

The Chinese name for this point is Sanyinjiao. The English name for this point is Three Yin Intersection. This pressure point is located 3 cun above the tip of the inner ankle bone, next to the shin bone (as shown in the diagram below). This point especially helps in calming the stress affecting the abdominal region, which is one of the causes of disturbed sleep.

How to Stimulate the Point

Locate the point by measuring 3 cun above the tip of the inner ankle bone.

Place your thumb at the point and press firmly. Apply pressure till the pain is easily bearable.

Gently massage in slow rotatory movements.

You may also press the point directly for a minute or two.

Repeat the aforementioned steps with the other leg.

Spleen 6 (SP 6) is one of the points located in the spleen meridian of the body. It is one of the most important points in treating many disorders because it also happens to be the point of intersection of Spleen, Kidney, and Liver meridians. Stimulation of this point strengthens the kidney and spleen, as well as harmonizes the liver function, thereby eliminating the causes of insomnia.

Conception Vessel 17 and Governing Vessel 24.5

The Chinese name for these two points are Dan Zhong and Yintang, respectively. The English name for these points are Sea of Tranquility and Hall of Impression, or the Third Eye. Conception Vessel 17 (CV 17) is located at the center of the chest, the middle point at the same level of the nipples. The governing vessel 24.5 (GV 24.5) is located in the middle of the two eyebrows (as shown in the image below). Both these points are massaged together to calm and quiet the mind and body.


How to Stimulate These Points

Sit comfortably in a quiet place. Use one hand to press GV 24.5, and the other to press CV 17. Place the tip of your index or middle finger on each point. You will observe a notch in the point GV 24.5.

For GV 24.5, press the point firmly till you feel a gentle pulse. Do not apply a lot of pressure on either of these points.

Try to focus your energy into these points, and feel the quietness and calmness within and around yourself.

Take slow, but deep breaths, meditating on these points. Hold these points for 1-2 minutes.
governing vessel 24.5 and conception vessel 17

The stimulation of both these points (CV 17 and GV 24.5) has a tranquilizing effect on the body. While CV 17 relieves the body from tension and sadness, GV 24.5 stimulates a feeling of calmness and wellness. Stimulating both these points allows one to relax and delve into a blissful and spiritually calming sleep.

Some Other Tips to Help you Sleep

Apart from stimulating the acupressure points mentioned in the section above, there are certain techniques that will help you get a peaceful sleep. These are simple to do, and can prove to be extremely effective.

Massage your wrist: Our wrist consists of various acupressure points which are located in the area equivalent to the width of the first two fingers. Stimulate these points by holding the wrist enclosed with your thumb and middle finger. Circulate around the wrist to stimulate them and experience relaxation.

Massage your fingers: The tips of our fingers consist of acupressure points that can help in relieving tension by generating a soothing and calming effect on the nervous system. Gently rub the tips of each finger to stimulate these points.

Stretch: Stretching relaxes your body and releases all the built-up tension in the body. Therefore, it helps in inducing sleep, especially when done before stimulating the pressure points.

Disclaimer: This article is for educational purposes only and should not be considered as a replacement for expert advice. Kindly consult a physician before proceeding with this technique. Caution is needed in case of certain health issues.