There’s a lot of worry these days with the high health risk of COVID-19 spreading across the globe. And rightly so. Friends and clients tell me they are worrying more, and sleeping less, so I’d like to spend some time talking about one way to improve your sleep and help reduce your anxiety.
Medical advice has long told us that restful sleep is essential to our physical and mental health. Much of what’s been told is to follow sleep hygiene protocols. Some tips on sleep hygiene can be read about here. (insert link to article).
In addition to following basic steps to enhance our environment and prepare our bodies for sleep, essential oils used on specific acupoints can also reduce anxiety and help us get better sleep.
A little bit of research revealed that there are many points that can aid with insomnia, but there are two extra-special acupoints that are very effective for both excess worrying and difficulty sleeping.
ACUPOINTS & ESSENTIAL OILS FOR ANXIETY AND SLEEP
What are acupoints?
Acupressure points are essentially the same as acupuncture points, but we won’t be using any needles here. Only fingertip pressure. And when acupuncture points are used with very little pressure and activated with essential oils, we call them acupoints.
How does it work?
In order for acupressure to work, a point on your body is stimulated. Acupressure stimulation requires firm pressure with your fingertip on the point for about 5 minutes. Acupuncture stimulates the point with needles. However, when we use pure essential oils on points, it requires almost no pressure to activate them. The point is activated by the energy and chemistry of the particular oil in about 90 seconds.
There are numerous points that can be helpful. Acupoints such as Pericardium 6 and Heart 7 are often used to treat anxiety and insomnia*. The use of light pressure and essential oils on these specific acupoints is a treatment that you do at home.
Pericardium 6 (PC6) is located two cun (pronounced soon), or two finger-widths from the wrist crease, between the tendons in the middle of the forearm. Once measured as shown, the point is just above the widest knuckle on the wrist, between two tendons.
You can also find PC6 by placing your first three fingers as shown above, and the point is directly under the index finger.
Heart 7 (HT7) is located just below the palm pad at the largest wrist crease, on the radial side of the tendon.
You can simultaneously activate both acupoints by place your index finger on PC6 and your middle fingertip on HT7.
You’ve probably heard of lavender. It’s so common these days, that you probably even have some lavender essential oil laying around the house somewhere. Lavender is an excellent choice on both PC6 and HT7, with the intention of calming the mind, and regulating the emotional body. Other pure essential oils that are lovely for relaxation include chamomile, geranium, blue tansy, frankincense, For more information on the properties of Lavender, visit this blog post.
If you happen to have Vetiver essential oil on hand, this might be a good choice on PC6, as it is very grounding and rooted, dropping you down into a deeply restful sleep…. It also tends to work on 1st charka concerns such as safety and survival.
One of the easiest ways to test whether an oil is the right one to use is to just smell it. gently wave the bottle from left to right just below your nose. Do you like it? Do you love it? If you do, then it’s a good bet your body is telling you that’s just what you need right now. If the scent is revolting? You guessed it, steer clear for the time being, and try another oil. Always check in with your own body’s wisdom, it knows what it needs.
For some interesting research on this topic and the use of essential oils and healing animals, check out this podcast interview with Caroline Ingraham. For thirty years, Caroline Ingraham has been listening to the animals as they self-select essential oils for healing. If you have a pet, or maybe a bit of land with animals to tend, you must listen to this amazing podcast. Caroline Ingraham is a researcher, animal healer, and founder of Applied Zoopharmacognosy…enjoy!
How do you do it?
It’s really quite simple.
Place one drop of pure essential oil on a fingertip, and lightly place that fingertip on one of the points as described above. If you are going to activate both PC6 and HT7, place one drop on your index finger, and another drop of oil on your middle or ring finger.
Once you’ve placed your fingertips on the acupoints, notice your the skin at the point of contact. If you see the surface of the skin is indented, you are probably pressing too hard. Lighten the pressure a bit, and then close your eyes. Focus on your breath and your intention: calming your mind and heart, and sweet, restful sleep.
Hold the essential oil on that acupoint until you notice a subtle shift in your energy. You may notice your breathing change, slowing a bit, or a tingling. Maybe a slowing of your heart rate. This shift will take about 90 seconds, more or less, depending on how you felt to being with.
Enjoy the sensation, and repeat the protocol whenever you’re feeling anxious or having trouble sleeping. Be sure to alternate between your left and right wrist acupoints so you don’t treat the same side of the body each time.
(NOTE: These suggestions are not intended to replace medical treatment for insomnia or anxiety. If you believe you have clinical anxiety or have had trouble sleeping for a significant length of time, please reach out to your doctor or therapist for guidance and treatment.)