Acupressure Points for Calming a Child's Anxiety without Drugs
Anxiety is increasingly common in children and teens today. Over 4 million children in the United States between ages 3 and 17 are diagnosed with an anxiety disorder and many more suffer from anxiety.
According to the CDC website:
When children do not outgrow the fears and worries that are typical in young children, or when there are so many fears and worries that they interfere with school, home, or play activities, the child may be diagnosed with an anxiety disorder. Examples of different types of anxiety disorders include
- Being very afraid when away from parents (separation anxiety)
- Having extreme fear about a specific thing or situation, such as dogs, insects, or going to the doctor (phobias)
- Being very afraid of school and other places where there are people (social anxiety)
- Being very worried about the future and about bad things happening (general anxiety)
- Having repeated episodes of sudden, unexpected, intense fear that come with symptoms like heart pounding, having trouble breathing, or feeling dizzy, shaky, or sweaty (panic disorder)
Anxiety may present as fear or worry, but can also make children irritable and angry. Anxiety symptoms can also include trouble sleeping, as well as physical symptoms like fatigue, headaches, or stomachaches. Some anxious children keep their worries to themselves and, thus, the symptoms can be missed.
From the symptoms above you can see how anxious thoughts and feelings can manifest as very real physical symptoms.
As a parent, it can be difficult to be sure that anxiety is really the cause of your child's symptoms, and even if you're sure it's the case what can be done?
The Research is Clear - Acupressure Alleviates Anxiety
There has been quite a bit of research done on acupressure for anxiety and the results are pretty clear that for many people acupressure is an effective tool to help reduce anxiety and nervousness without drugs.
Even in the moment, when they're anxious.
It doesn't matter if your child has generalized anxiety, social anxiety, or panic attacks.
Daily acupressure or AcuPatching™ can help manage feelings of anxiety by changing our physiological response to our thoughts and feelings.
Sometimes this happens within minutes of stimulating the points below.
This is especially important for children because we want don't want to shelter them from experiences that will cause anxiety and reinforce it.
Instead, we want to help them move through their anxiety, learn to manage it, and build resilience in times of adversity.
Acupoint stimulation is a tool they can use instantly and even small children can learn to do it.
In this blog post and video, I'll show you two ways to treat the acupoints and help reduce your child's anxiety.
These acupoints can also be used in adults. If you have anxiety, as a parent it's critical that you're able to reduce your own anxiety first before addressing your child's situation.
When parents are anxious, even if they're trying to hind it, children often sense and respond to it by exhibiting increased anxiety themselves.
The first way to stimulate the acupoints for anxiety is with acupressure.
This is the simplest way since all you need are your hands. Apply firm but comfortable pressure on the points for anywhere from 30 seconds to 3 minutes depending on your child's age as seen in this chart.
Remember to use loving touch and by applying continuous pressure or kneading/massaging the acupoint to stimulate it.
To be most effective, you need to do acupressure on the points 2-5 times day depending on the severity of your child's anxiety.
This can sometimes be difficult to do, especially if your child is not with you all day long. Or if they can't sit still long enough for you to do the acupressure.
The second technique called AcuPatching™.
With AcuPatching you apply a light therapy patch on the acupoint once daily and leave it there for anywhere from 2 - 24 hours.
It's safe, effective, and less time consuming than acupressure AND has an even stronger effect than acupressure.
Light therapy patches work by reflecting the light your body emits back into the acupoint. The properties of the patch enable it to reflect back very specific wavelengths of low-level light that induces biochemical changes.
For anxiety, I recommend using patches that calm & balance the nervous system. I'll tell you which patches you'll need below.
First, let's discuss the acupoints.
How to Stimulate Acupressure Points to Calm a Child's Anxiety
The four acupoints I recommend for anxiety are yin tang and the tranquility triangle.
Yin tang, also known as the third eye, is located between the eyebrows.
This point is very calming and promotes a sense of relaxation. You can stimulate this point with acupressure or you can apply the Aeon patch just above yin tang so you don’t pull out your eyebrows when you remove it.
The Aeon patch has a regulating effect on the nervous system and promotes a balance between the sympathetic nervous system (which gets turned on when we go into fight or flight) and the parasympathetic nervous system which is calming, cooling, resting, and digesting.
Rarely, some children respond better to the SP 6 Complete patch instead of the Aeon patch. If your child feels more anxious with the Aeon patch, it means they need to switch to the SP 6 Complete instead.
The Tranquility Triangle (aka Buddha’s Triangle) consists of three acupoints: Lung 9, Heart 7, and Pericardium 6.
These points have a strong calming effect on the body by reducing anxiety and promoting a general sense of well-being.
Here's why we use this combination of acupoints for anxiety.
Lung 9 (LU 9)
This point regulates the lungs and our breathing so it helps calm our breathing and alleviate feelings of sadness or a sense of lack.
When your child is feeling anxious, observe how they're breathing.
Are they breathing deeply and expanding their lower belly? Or are they breathing rapidly and shallowly?
If the latter, be sure to slow their breathing down and have them take big belly breaths while you stimulate this point.
Pericardium 6 (PC 6)
In Chinese medicine, the pericardium is thought of as our heart protector, shielding us from emotional pain.
PC 6 calms the heart and spirit and is good for agitation, chest tightness, nausea, and rapid breathing. It is also used to help a person look within to find inner strength and peace.
Pericardium 6 is a very versatile point with many different indications, but in the tranquility triangle, it’s used to promote calm.
Heart 7 (HT 7)
This acupoint is also known as "spirit gate" and has a calming effect on our hearts and minds. It is particularly helpful for worry and anxiety.
You can apply acupressure, or if you want to magnify and extend the calming effects of the Tranquility Triangle for the whole day and beyond apply AcuPatching™
With AcuPatching™ you'll place four different patches on these same acupoints. Watch the video above for complete instructions.
Step 1: Place an Aeon patch on Lung 9 on both sides
The Aeon patch was chosen due to its calming effects. It also promotes a balance between our sympathetic (fight or flight) part of our nervous system and parasympathetic (calming, resting, digesting) nervous system.
Steps 2 & 3: Place a Silent Night Patch on Heart 7 on the right and a Carnosine Patch on Heart 7 on the left
The Silent Night and Carnosine patches were chosen because they are both very tonifying and calming in their actions.
Step 4: Place Ice Wave patches on PC 6 with the tan patch on the left and the white patch on the right
The Ice Wave patches were chosen because of their sedating effect, which will calm the heart rate and rapid breathing in anxiety.
Additional AcuPatching™ & Acupressure Instructions
You can leave the patches on for 2 – 24 hours as feels good to your child.
The patches can be reused for up to 24 hours. If they lose their sticky, you can reapply with medical tape. Once they've been worn for 24 hours replace them.
The patch choice above can be simplified or altered as needed to address the way your anxiety presents. Some people have found relief by simply using Energy Enhancers patches on all the points.
Alternately, you could also use Ice Wave on all the points depending on the underlying imbalances creating the anxiety.
If you’re using acupressure, you’ll need to press on these acupoints minutes 2-5x/day to help with anxiety.