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Press this point for stress and anxiety

Most textbooks indicate Conception Vessel 17 for shortness of breath, and it can certainly be effective for that. But I use this point first and foremost for stress and anxiety.

The shortness of breath indication is good to remember though, because Conception Vessel 17 is especially helpful if your stress and anxiety is the type that manifests in the upper body. Maybe it’s accompanied by difficulty breathing, tightness in the chest, or even heart palpitations.

Kari-Ann Hubbard, an acupuncturist in Tempe, Arizona, says, “When we’re stressed, we often hold our breath. Conception Vessel 17 opens the chest and increases awareness of breathing.”

Acupuncturist Alison Colberg, of Asheville, North Carolina, recommends paring Conception Vessel 17 with another acupressure point. “For people who are experiencing a lot of stress, I suggest placing one hand over Conception Vessel 17 and the other hand over Yin Tang, a point between the eyebrows. The connection between the two points helps calm the nervous system while opening the heart to new possibilities and allowing more room for deeper breathing.”

On many people—men especially—Conception Vessel 17 is level with the nipples on the centerline. Depending on how your breasts fall, you might need to adjust that a bit.

The technical location of Conception Vessel 17 is on the sternum at the level of the fourth intercostal space (the space between two ribs). Since that’s hard to remember, I recommend starting at the level of your nipples and using firm pressure to feel slightly up and down the sternum. You’ll know when you hit Conception Vessel 17 because the point is often very tender.

Once you find the point, press for 1-2 minute increments using firm pressure. If you can, lie down and close your eyes while you’re pressing this point, and take some slow deep breaths into your abdomen. It’s a great point to press before bed if you’re having a hard time quieting your mind for sleep.