Backpackers and first-class jetsetters alike know that traveling is hard on the mind and body.
When on the go, sleep deprivation, dehydration, exhaustion, and stress are textbook – but combine those with changes in elevation, nausea-inducing transportation, or illness, and your outlook is grim. Acupressure is an incredibly useful do-it-yourself skill that anyone can use to self-treat these common minor aches and pains. Learn to do it right and it could be your ultimate trip rescue.
So what is acupressure? According to Michael Reed Gach PhD, author of Acupressure’s Potent Points: A to Z Self-Care for Common Complaints, acupressure is “an ancient healing art using the fingers to gradually press key healing points, which stimulate the body’s natural self-curative abilities.”
For travelers, this means having instant, accessible relief when you’re otherwise shit out of luck.
Here are three straightforward acupressure points to try on your next trip. I have used all three since I was little and I promise you, they work. You’ll be shocked how responsive your body is to these pressure points in seconds. Give it a try and let me know what you think!
1. For nausea and motion sickness, try Pressure Point Neiguan (P-6)
- Hold your hand palm up, and place the first 3 fingers of your opposite hand across your wrist. Then, place your thumb on the point just below your index finger in the center of your arm.
- Use your thumb to press on this point for 2 to 3 minutes. The pressure should be firm but not cause discomfort.
- Repeat the process on your other wrist.
Tip: There are bracelets and wristbands you can purchase to put constant pressure on P-6. I survived a twenty-four-hour bus ride with Seabands – they are a life savor for motion sickness.
2. For headaches, migraines, stiff neck, and even stress, try Pressure Point Feng Chi (GB20)
- Put your hands behind your neck and feel for the depressions on either side of your neck muscles. If you touch your middle fingers behind your head, you’ll be able to trace your pinkies from your ears down to these depressions, just underneath your skull.
- Take deep breaths as you apply pressure to these depressions for 1-3 minutes. The area may be sore – push firmly, but not so much that it hurts.
- When you’re done, slowly release the pressure and take a few more good deep breaths.
3. To relieve insomnia, try Pressure Points Zhaohai (K6) and Shenmai (B62).
- Locate K6 on the inside of your step, in the fleshy triangle between your heel and anklebone.
- Locate B62 on the outside of your foot, between your heel and anklebone. You’ll be pressing behind the tendon alongside your anklebone.
- Once you locate the two points, you can use your thumb and forefinger to pinch your ankle on the two sides, hitting both points.
- Take as long as you need. These are great pressure points to try on someone else when they are having trouble sleeping or managing pain.