Instant Calm: Acupressure

A healing art based in traditional Chinese medicine, acupressure involves pressing specific points on your body to release muscle tension and stimulate circulation and the flow of qi, or life energy. Two points on the back of your neck known as the "gates of the mind" can ease stress and clear your mind, says Dr. Michael Reed Gach, founder of the Acupressure Institute in Berkeley, California, and producer of the guided self-care DVD "Acupressure for Stress Relief." As an added bonus, he adds, pressing these points can stop headaches from developing.

Tilt your head back and place your thumbs at the top of your neck, just below the base of your skull, about three inches apart. Press these spots firmly but gently. "You don't want to press on the skull, but just underneath it," Gach says. "If your thumbs are weak or arthritic, use your knuckles instead." As you press, take three to five slow, deep breaths. Finish by letting your hands float into your lap and your chin drop to your chest. Take an additional deep breath, and briefly scan your body to see how you feel.

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