Facebook Fan: Whilst away this Christmas holiday, I watched in awe as our hostess, turned my over-tired, over-excited four-year-old into a calm, sleepy statue with a simple head massage. Could a quick and easy technique, like using pressure points in the head and neck, be a viable sleep aid for my child who battles to fall asleep?
The Sleep Experts answer: Well, there is not much Western research available on this Eastern medicine, but there is probably no harm in trying this technique out on yourself or any of your family members who battle to sleep.
The idea of pressure points originates from Traditional Chinese medicine and is named 'alternative medicine' by Westerners. The Chinese believe that there are certain points that when pressed help to re-align your body's energy flow. Most Westerners are more familiar with the idea of muscle tension and the relief that massage can bring.
Booking a massage at bedtime is probably a privilege reserved for A-list celebs and Powerful Politicians, but luckily there is the 'DIY pressure point method' that is said to help alleviate insomnia.
The basic idea is to locate the pressure point and then either apply direct pressure for 1-2 minutes or massage in a circular movement over the point until the pain eases. Here are the three pressure points that I found worked best for me from: 'How to put someone to sleep using pressure points'.
Point GB20 AKA Feng Shui or Windpool - Found where your neck muscles connect to the base of your skull. Nod your head to feel the depressions. I found this an exceptionally painful pressure point, but it left a lasting, soothing 'tingling' sensation which was relaxing.
Point GV16 AKA Feng Fu or Wind Mansion - Said to rid your mind of unhelpful, fearful thoughts this point is found above your hair line in the middle of the nape of your neck. To find it on yourself place your bent thumb joint on the base of your hairline and measure til the thumb tip. This is where you will need to apply pressure. I found this one tricky to do on myself especially without rotating my head. I found it easier if I used my thumb to measure and my index finger to apply the pressure.
UB10 AKA Tian Zhu or Celestial Pillar - Closer to the midline than GB20, this pressure point is said to help induce relaxation and clear the bladder. I found it easiest to find by tipping my head forward and placing each thumb on the points. It was not as painful as GB20, but was very lekker.
Try them out on your child tonight and let us know if it becomes one of the steps in their bedtime routine that promotes sleep.
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