By Sara Calabro

Kids today are shouldering a lot. From events as devastating as school shootings to more routine stressors like test-taking and bullying, there are many contributors to rising anxiety in kids.

If your child is dealing with anxiety, acupressure provides an effective, drug-free solution for reducing symptoms. Even better: Some acupressure points for anxiety can be taught to kids as self-care tools. Anxiety is a growing problem in adults as well, so kids who learn how to manage it young will be at an advantage as they age.

Can kids really learn acupressure?

Yes! As early as toddlers, kids can start mimicking the healing techniques that their parents show them.

No matter what age you introduce your kids to acupressure, it’ll be a gift. Whether it’s for anxiety or something else, having a fundamental understanding of the body’s ability to heal itself—and their ability to take control of their own health—is invaluable for kids.

Below are the three acupressure points for anxiety. Teach your little ones the first two and treat them to a soothing massage with the third!

ps. If you struggle with anxiety yourself, these points also work on adults.

Pericardium 6 is on the wrist

Pericardium 6 is on the wrist - AcupressureAbout this point
Pericardium 6, known as Inner Pass, is effective for several conditions, including anxiety. In acupuncture, the Pericardium channel has a direct relationship to the Heart system, which is in charge of all things related to spirit. Pericardium 6 is a go-to point for calming the spirit. If your child is having trouble concentrating, sleeping through the night, or socializing due to anxiety, Pericardium 6 can be a great help.

When pressed by parents, this point can be especially calming for kids, because the firm grasp on the wrist conveys that you’re in control. However, it’s also an easy one to teach older kids as a self-care tool for calming themselves down. After you’ve shown them the position and breathing technique, have them start practicing on their own and encourage them to use it whenever they’re feeling anxious.

How to find it
Pericardium 6 is easily found on the inside of the wrist. It’s located roughly two inches up from the wrist crease. To make sure you’re getting the point, place your whole thumb across the width of the inner wrist while supporting the back of the wrist with your other fingers. Apply firm pressure for several minutes while asking your child to take some deep breaths.

The point is bilateral, meaning it’s on both sides of the body. However, in cases of anxiety, because of the Pericardium’s relationship to the Heart system, the point is usually done on the left wrist.

Yintang is between the eyebrows

Yintang is between the eyebrows - AcupressureAbout this point
Translated in English as Hall of Impression, Yintang is what’s known in Chinese medicine as an extra point, meaning that it’s not associated with a particular meridian on the body. Yintang is primarily used to calm the mind. In keeping with the name Hall of Impression, when you press this point, think about clearing away the anxiety that sometimes gets in the way of your child presenting the best version of herself.

How to find it
Yintang is a single acupressure point located between the eyebrows. Locate the midpoint between the inner edges of your child’s eyebrows to find the point. Yintang is rarely tender, so it’s okay to apply firm pressure while having your child close her eyes. You can try making small circles while massaging the point.

Yintang is another anxiety-reducing point that kids can perform on their own. It works very well as a routine practice at night, as they’re lying down in bed. It’s also helpful for on-the-spot anxiety, although Pericardium 6 above might be a better choice if they’re at school or another public place because they can do it more discretely. Encourage them to apply pressure for 1-2 minutes while taking some slow, deep breaths.

Bladder 15 is on the upper back

Bladder 15 is on the upper back - AcupressureAbout this point
The Bladder channel includes several points along the back that are known as Shu points. These are points that are associated with different organs in the body and have especially strong effects on those organs. Bladder 15 is the Heart Shu point, so it is indicated for symptoms concerning the Heart. From an acupuncture perspective, anxiety is related to the Heart because it is connected to the spirit.

How to find it
Bladder 15 is located on the upper back. It’s about one-and-a-half inches out from the spine, in the paraspinal muscles, at the level of the fifth thoracic vertebra (T5). A trick for finding it is to first locate T7, which is level with the lower border of the scapula/shoulder blade. Find T7 by drawing a line from the bottom of the shoulder blade to the spine, then go up two vertebra. That is T5. You can gauge the location of Bladder 15 by finding the highest point on the paraspinals.

Since Bladder 15 is on the back, your kids won’t be able to reach it on themselves, so this one is all you. Acupressure on back points can be incredibly soothing for kids. Ask your child to lay on his stomach, making sure that the neck is in a comfortable position. Ask him to close his eyes and just relax while you press the point. Press Bladder 15 on both sides at the same time, using firm pressure.

Photos by Lane Oliveri

"Heal Your Kids With Acupressure" - Acupressure for Kids Book on White IpadIf this article was helpful, check out Heal Your Kids With Acupressure by AcuTake founder Sara Calabro. It’s an essential resource for parents who want to learn how to heal their kids with their own hands—no drugs, shots, or sterile exam rooms required. In 200+ pages with full-color instructional photography, you’ll discover how to treat 30 common childhood ailments with over 40 acupressure points.

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