Acupressure for Insomnia

It’s 1 a.m. Now, 2 a.m. Another frustrated, exhausted glance at the clock says that it’s 2:30 in the morning. And you’re still wide awake, but exhausted. You’ve tried all sorts of insomnia remedies, to no avail. One very viable therapy to check out is acupressure.

Performing Acupressure for Insomnia

Acupressure can be performed by a partner, a trained specialist, or on yourself. A trained acupressure therapist will be knowledgeable about the specific acupressure points useful for your condition, the amount of pressure necessary, and the amount of time to apply pressure for given conditions. Since a root disharmony in the body is often the cause of insomnia, acupressure treatments provided by an experienced practitioner will provide the best results. However in the middle of the night, your own finger pressure will have to suffice to treat yourself symptomatically and get some needed rest.

Several acupressure points are effective for treating insomnia and helping the mind and body to relax:

  • Neiguan (Pericardium 6) – “Inner Gate” is the primary point used for treating insomnia, known to relax the mind, unbind the chest, and calm the spirit. The acupressure point is located about three finger widths from the wrist, in the middle of the forearm.
  • Shenmen (Heart 7) – “Spirit Gate” is the source point of the Heart meridian (energy pathway); a Heart organ disharmony is the primary cause of insomnia. To locate this acupressure point, draw an imaginary line from the little finger to the wrist on the palm of the hand, and stop at the wrist crease. There will be a “hollow” there, beside a tendon.
  • Anmien (Extra Point) – “Peaceful Sleep” is an extra point indicated for the treatment of insomnia. This acupressure point is located behind the ear at the base of the skull, directly beneath the mastoid process. Search for the tender spot to locate this point and massage the general area for maximum benefit.
  • Shimien (Extra Point) – “Insomnia” is another extra point known for its effectiveness in insomnia treatment, hence the point name – insomnia. To locate this acupressure point on the bottom of your foot, draw a line from both the medial and lateral maleoli (ankle bones) to the sole of the foot; where these lines overlap at the midline of the sole is the point (just above the heel of the foot). Again, search for the most tender spot in this area.

Acupressure can be performed on all of these points for insomnia. Try applying pressure on each of these points to determine which ones are sensitive and provide the best effects for you. Consider using the last point, Shimien, at the end of your self-treatment to help bring extra energy down to your feet. Acupressure on these areas helps to calm the heart and to reduce anxiety, so it is easy to see how this technique might result in reduced insomnia.

Detailed Instructions on Acupressure for Insomnia

Before getting started with an acupressure session, a therapist will first make sure the patient is relaxed and in a room that is at a comfortable temperature. His or her hands will be clean and pleasantly warm. The patient should take deep and gentle breaths before, during, and after the acupressure session.

When ready to begin, the person performing acupressure will place gentle pressure with several fingers on one of the two acupressure points mentioned above for one to three minutes. If it is necessary to apply pressure to the other point as well, do so after pressing on the first point and follow the same procedure used on the first point. It can also be beneficial to use acupressure on both sides of the body (left forearm and right forearm, for example).

If the acupressure spots feel tender, that could mean there is a blockage of energy. This tenderness should lessen over time and with each acupressure session. It is therefore a good idea to continue performing acupressure for insomnia regularly to achieve the best and fullest results.

Related Tips Regarding Acupressure for Insomnia

If there are concurrent problems contributing to insomnia, acupressure for those problems can be used in combination with acupressure for insomnia. For example, if back pain is contributing to insomnia, then acupressure that is specifically for back pain, using its associated acupressure points, can be even more helpful at alleviating insomnia than focusing only on the acupressure points that are solely for insomnia.

As a precaution, it is wise to consult a medical practitioner in cases where a serious medical condition is suspected to be present before beginning acupressure sessions.

How Well Does Acupressure Work for Insomnia?

Research shows that acupressure is effective for insomnia among people of all ages, including infants who have difficulty sleeping. Testimonials from people who have found relief from insomnia through acupressure also indicate that this age-old technique has been successful for many people. Since acupressure is based on the same theories and point locations as acupuncture, a similar clinical result can be obtained with acupressure as acupuncture, without the use of needles.

What Is Acupressure?

Acupressure is based on the ancient belief that the human body contains a life energy (also called chi or qi) and that this energy flows through meridians in the body. When this energy is flowing properly, a person can be healthy and the body can heal, but when the energy is not flowing properly, disease can occur.

Acupressure involves applying gentle but firm pressure with the fingers on various places on the body to help the body heal. It is noninvasive and safe, is quick and easy to perform, and can provide rapid relief from insomnia. Many people suffering from insomnia seek relief through medications, which can have side effects; there are no such risks with acupressure.

The word acupressure is very similar to the word acupuncture, and in fact, the two techniques are similar to one another, as the points are the same in both techniques. However, acupressure does not involve needles as acupuncture does, and many people prefer acupressure because of this.

What Is Insomnia?

Insomnia, which is not uncommon, involves trouble falling asleep and staying asleep, as well as awakening earlier than desired. It can continue for long periods of time (days, weeks or months) and can be highly disruptive to a person’s quality of life and to his or her routine. Some of the negative results of insomnia include depression, daytime tiredness and irritability.

There are many causes for insomnia; some of them include stress, anxiety, fear, physical pain and even stimulants such as caffeine. Some medical conditions can contribute to insomnia, so it’s important to rule out those and address them, and then see whether the insomnia persists once medical conditions have been properly and effectively managed.

Additional Resources

An overview website about acupressure.

Additional explanation and instructions regarding acupressure for insomnia.

© 2017 altMD, LLC. All rights reserved. Use of this site constitutes acceptance of altMD's terms of service and privacy policy and cookie policy and Health Disclaimer. The material on this site is for informational purposes only, and is not a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment provided by a qualified health care provider.