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How to Improve Sleep with Acupressure & Reduce Adrenal Stress
Dr. Eric Berg DC
The more I have learned, over time, about the human body, the more I have come to believe in acupressure. And I find that acupressure is wonderful for helping to put me in the ideal state for the most rejuvenating sleep I’ve ever had.
You can use acupressure all over the body to achieve different effects. Today, doctors are beginning to see the amazing value of acupressure for treating everything from ringing ear (tinnitus) syndrome, to treating addiction and depression, to promoting relaxation and good sleep.
I’m going to discuss about the acupressure techniques I have learned that most benefits relaxation and for creating the ideal state for the most restful, delta-wave rich sleep you’ll ever experience.
What Acupressure Can Do for You and for Everyday Stress
Most of us live very stressful lifestyles, and stress is bad for everything from hypertension, to inducing weight gain and hormone imbalance, to inhibiting optimum brain functions, to allowing us to achieve a good night of sleep.
And I know that, like me, you want peak mental and physical performance, if you can achieve it. Hopefully today, I could help you discover some relaxation techniques that would enhance your quality of sleep, giving you more energy and enhanced performance when you are awake.
For me, acupressure helps relieve the kind of bodily stress I acquire throughout the day that can leave me tossing and turning in bed all night, losing precious hours of sleep that I desperately need.
Of course, I’m busy all day in the office, and I do lots of workouts late in the day, as I often have to, but which can raise the heart rate as well.
So I need relaxation exercises that can enable me to fall asleep as quickly as possible and sleep as deeply as possible (however little sleep I get), so I can get up early and prepare for work fully rejuvenated.
I bet you’re thinking, “Sure. In an ideal world, I would go to sleep fast too, but I can’t; I toss and turn half the night.”
And that is exactly why you need acupressure.
Acupressure and the Body as a Machine
Now, that I have discovered these two acupressure tricks, I never go to sleep with bodily stress anymore.
See, stress in the body is actually “stuck energy” in the body. Stuck energy is like a tension in the body that won’t let you relax. And stuck energy comes from having the foot stuck on the gas pedal so long, from stress, work, and more stress, that our body gets literally “stuck in stress”. We develop a faulty gas pedal, so to speak.
What acupressure allows you to do for your body is to convert that stuck energy into valuable energy for relaxation, not to waste it on stress.
The Two Most Important Pressure Points and Exercises to Induce True Delta-Wave Sleep
There are basically two places that we’re going to be working on: the back of the skull and neck area and the abdomen area.
These pressure point areas are very important for relaxation before sleep to help you release tension all over the body and to induce “delta-wave” sleep.
Now, what do I mean by delta-wave sleep?
Delta-wave sleep is the deepest stage of sleep you can reach when sleeping. It is the most recuperative, rejuvenating stage of sleep, and what’s fascinating is that even if you experience only a few hours of delta-wave sleep, you will still wake up feeling fully rejuvenated.
Why? It is because this stage of sleep is what the body is trying to achieve the entire time you are sleeping. It just often takes a while to reach this deepest stage of sleep... unless you are very, very relaxed when you go to sleep.
That’s what we’re trying to achieve with acupressure—we are trying to allow your body to move into that delta-wave stage of sleep faster through achieving optimal relaxation before you shut your eyes for the night.
This way, you can achieve fully restorative and rejuvenating sleep even if you cannot sleep a full 8 hours.
So, let me show you the two acupressure techniques I have found, that with the aid of this new device I am going to show you today, will allow you to relax as you apply pressure to these points, and achieve deep, delta-wave sleep.
To Achieve Deep Sleep Faster – Try These Acupressure Points:
The Base of the Skull and the Nape (Back of the Neck)
Reach around to the back of your head, right at the base of your skull. That’s the first point we’re going to concentrate on and the back of the neck, right around the nape.
By concentrating on this area, what we are going to do is to stimulate the relaxation centers in the body. All of these happen to be right at the base of the skull on the back of the head.
The name of that area is the vagus nerve and this carries parasympathetic impulses to thoracic and abdominal area of the body.
This area is the heart of the locus coeruleus (LC) and the raphe nuclei, which is a cluster of nuclei found in the brain stem. The important thing about the raphe nuclei is that this is where good mood, stress-reducing, anti-anxiety serotonin is released.
These two areas on the back of the neck are pressure points that act as the “on/off” switch for your sleep, and we’re going to trigger that by using acupressure before bed.
That way, by throwing on the off switch in these areas of the body, we can induce a really good delta-wave sleep, so you can sleep through the night and wake up feeling rejuvenated.
See, for most people, insomnia and the lack of ability to fall asleep at night mean that there is a problem with a “stuck gas pedal”, in that you go to bed still in high gear, and we need to get you into low gear.
The other place we will target is the abdomen, the center of much of the stress in the human body.
The Tripod Acupressure Device, for Hands-Free Relaxation Therapy
Acupressure has been so effective for helping me sleep that I wanted to create a device that makes it easier to relax while applying pressure to these hard-to-reach points on the body, like the back of the head and the back of the lower neck.
So basically, what this device makes possible is to allow you to fully relax while applying pressure to sleep and relaxation-inducing points on the body, so that you can get really good, rejuvenating sleep and let all the stress of your day just “go”.
In fact, when designing this device, I based its width upon the width of my hand, because I wanted to create something to help me do acupressure by myself, without using my hands themselves.
The tripod shape of this Massage Tool accomplishes two things. First, you can use it on all kinds of surfaces and it will stay still and in place. You can hang it from the top of a chair, or stand it on a pillow, the floor—anywhere, and it will stay still and balanced on its strong legs.
Second, the tripod shape is adjustable. You can use a wide setting or a narrower setting, for different sized heads and necks, or use the longer leg for applying pressure to, for example, the abdomen area when you are lying on your back (I’ll show you one of these momentarily).
Overall, this enables you to move it in different positions that help you target specific areas for acupressure exercises while you relax.
Acupressure Techniques for the Back of the Neck Area
The first technique I’m going to show you is an acupressure technique for the back of the skull, to turn off the fight-flight mechanism.
So I’m going to hook this on the back of a tall chair. And I’m going to let gravity basically pull my head back until my head rests upon the two legs of this tripod, allowing the device to do its work.
When you lean on this, what happens is you extract stress from this first center around the vagus and trigger the relaxation centers in the back of your upper neck.
The minute you lean back upon the two legs of this device, you would immediately feel the relaxing effects. You would want to stay in this position for two to four minutes. So all you need to do is to hang this device from the back of your office chair before heading off to bed, or put it on your pillow in bed.
Another variation of this exercise is this one:
All you need to do for this variation is to apply pressure slightly lower on the back of the neck.
By applying pressure to the back of the neck this way, you can release all the tension out of the upper shoulders and this will really loosen you up and allow you to go to bed without stress in your neck and shoulders at all.
Basically, you can use this device to work on all the segments in your neck, finding all the tight spots, and relieving stress little by little. I take one with me to the office daily and keep one in my nightstand drawer for use on my pillow at night.
What I love about these exercises is they leave me with a great sense of calm and allow me to experience the best sleep ever.
That’s step one.
Step Two: Targeting the Abdominal Pressure Points
If you think about it, there’s a lot of stress that we hold in the chest and abdomen. Sometimes, you might even realize you haven’t breathed really deeply for a long time. Not a big breath.
That’s tension and stress doing its work upon you.
So, in these step two exercises, what we want to do is to locate the longer leg on the tripod. We’re going to use the longer leg of the device to put pressure on areas in the abdomen that work to promote sleep and reduce bodily stress, turning the “off switch” completely “on” in our body.
To do this exercise, take that leg of the tripod device and press it into the abdomen about one inch to the right of your belly button. You don’t want to apply so much pressure that it’s painful but enough that you feel pressure.
And you hold this position for a minute or two. This takes the fight or flight stress out of your body.
Then, you move upward on the abdomen, applying pressure for a minute or so every inch until you reach the bottom of the rib cage. So press every inch up from that belly button-level point all the way to the lower ribs.
Then you move an inch to the left of the belly button and do the same thing, slowly working your way up to the left rib cage.
I typically do this exercise in bed and lie on my back, letting gravity simply pull the device down onto the belly pressure points.
Metaphorically, the abdomen exercises help take the foot off the gas pedal and the ones in the back of the neck help stimulate the brake pads and really create a relaxed state for going to bed.
I do these exercises every night before bed and it keeps all the stress out of my body.
Overall, I wanted to show you these great techniques so you can go ahead and order yourself a tripod, so that you can experience enhanced sleep yourself.
I would give you more videos, by the way, when you order the device, to show how to use this all over the body to accomplish different health goals.
You could even use the device on a plane, hopefully, unless they consider it a weapon of destruction. They actually might these days, so ask the security while they’re checking your bags.
If so, you can pack it in your suitcase for relaxing and relieving jet lag once you get to the hotel!
I hope you enjoyed the video and try some of these acupressure techniques for yourself because you may have never had the amazing kind of delta-wave quality of sleep that you can get with good acupressure techniques.
I would love to hear your questions or comments below.
Discover the benefits of acupressure and see more Sleep Advice from Dr. Berg Video Blog.
Thank you and I’d love to hear from you.
Dr. Eric Berg DC