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Seven Soothing Acupressure Points to Calm Your Anxious Child

by Dr. Elizabeth Langer

When your child is all twisted up inside, what do you do? It kills you as a parent to see them  so upset.

Especially if your child has autism, ADHD, PANS, or PTSD, they may be more likely to  experience anxiety.

In these times of uncertainty, the tension in society, schools, and even in families is at an all-  time high and kids are picking up on it.  Fortunately, there are so many safe and natural ways  to help kids manage anxiety, such as holding them, essential oils, counseling, and  meditation. 

Acupressure is another great way to sooth stress for kids.  Let's learn about  seven great points to calm your anxious child.  

1. Yintang                                                                                                                                                                                      This calming point is located on the forehead, right between the eyebrows. Press                Yintang for one to five minutes and your child will begin to relax.  Yintang also relieves  headaches, dizziness, and nausea.

2. Pericardium 6 (Nei Guan)                                                                                                                                        This "super point" is located on the inside of the forearm, a few inches above the wrist  crease. To find, take the index, middle, and ring fingers of your child's opposite hand and  place them on the crease. Pericardium 6 is located between the two tendons (palmaris  longus and flexor carpi radialis). Apply light pressure, as this can be a sensitive spot.  Pericardium 6 is calming when anxiety and tension causes pain in the chest and stomach,  heavy breathing and hyperventilation, and helps to relieve nausea and other tummy  troubles.  

3. Pericardium 8 (Lau Gong)                                                                                                                        Pericardium 8 is a wonderful point for sharing energy between you and your child. It is  located between the 2nd and 3rd metacarpal bones in the central depression of the palm.  This point calms the spirit and the emotions, and is especially good when anxiety makes your child feel hot and sweaty. If you want to give your child a relaxing hand massage, apply gentle, but firm pressure on Pericardium 6, and perform light strokes with your thumbs (10 - 20 x) to Pericardium 8. Finish off by applying circular motions for one to three minutes at Pericardium 8 and see how quickly your child starts to laugh. 

4. Heart 7 (Shen Men)                                                                                                                                                              Heart 7 is located at the ulnar end of the wrist crease, just inside the flexor carpi ulnaris  tendon. It's great for when your child's anxiety is causing palpitations, a racing heartbeat,  fright, poor memory, and difficulty sleeping.  

5. Stomach 36 (Zusanli)                                                                                                                                          Stomach 36 is located on the shin below the kneecap, about a finger's width lateral to the  tibial tuberosity - that little bump below the knee cap. The point is usually tender, but it's  worth pressing because it is so beneficial to your child. In addition to helping your child to  attain a more grounded sensation, Stomach 36 treats nearly all digestive problems such as  indigestion, heartburn, nausea, bloating, gas, constipation, and diarrhea. It also has been  shown to help dizziness and boost the immune system.  

6. Spleen 6 (Sanyinjiao)                                                                                                                                            Spleen 6 is especially great for pre-teen and teenage girls for regulating hormones. It relaxes the uterus and can relieve menstrual cramps. To find Spleen 6, measure up from the inside ankle bone with your child's index, middle, and ring fingers to the slight depression on  the inside of the leg.  Spleen 6 nourishes Qi (energy) of the entire body. It calms the blood and corrects the urinary channel. Because of its strong effect on the uterus, Spleen 6 should not be used during pregnancy. 

7. Liver 3 (Tai Chong)                                                                                                                                                          Liver 3 is located on the top of the foot in the junction of the 1st and 2nd metatarsals. This is  another "super point" that in addition to soothing anxiety, it helps to balance hormones, reduce stress-related headaches, and can help with dizziness and difficulty sleeping, while regulating menstruation. 

Acupressure Tip                                                                                                                                                                        Before you give your child acupressure, try it on yourself first.  Kids can be sensitive and pressure feels different.  You can also practice on a tomato or a similar piece of fruit with soft skin.  Remember, you can always apply more pressure, but in the beginning, it's best to start soft.

You can use all of these points together, or you can pick and choose the ones you feel are best for your child. Certain points might be uncomfortable for kids, especially kids with sensory processing disorders.  My daughter doesn't like the inside of her wrist being touched, but is comfortable with everything else. Just be gentle and explore this process with your child.

I've developed a "step-by-step" process to apply these acupressure points, along with personalized strategies that are designed for your child's specific needs.  If you have any questions, contact me and I would be happy to help.