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Acupressure for Relaxation: The Sea of Tranquility

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Wouldn't it be great if immediate stress relief were available with the press of a button? The truth isn't far from this seemingly far-fetched desire.

Acupressure—the DIY, needle-less version of acupuncture where you stimulate your body's innate healing energy with your fingertips—can help you access your own inner stores of calm in a matter of moments. All you need to do is know where to press.

When your heart is racing, your mind is spinning, and you want to get back to a quieter, more grounded state, reach for the acupressure point known as the Sea of Tranquility. (Directions below.)

This powerful point in the very center of your breastbone can help you focus before a big meeting, calm down after a tough conversation with a loved one, or drift off to sleep when your swirling thoughts have got you awake in the middle of the night.

I've even laid my palm over my toddler's Sea of Tranquility when she was calming down from an epic tantrum—she fell asleep within three minutes.

How to Swim in Your Own Sea of Tranquility:

  • Locate the small indentation that’s approximately the width of three fingers from the bottom of your breastbone—generally just above nipple height in the space between your boobs. (It may sound like this would be awkward to find in public, but you can pretend you’re merely scratching an itch and no one will be the wiser.)
  • Press the tip of one of your middle fingers into the Sea of Tranquility. Start with gentle pressure, and gradually increase to a moderate intensity. You don’t need to bore a hole in your chest--you merely need to bring attention to the area.
  • Close your eyes if you can and breathe slowly, easily, and fully into the space beneath your finger tip. Aim to take twenty breaths, which should take about two minutes.
  • Release the pressure gradually, and take a few breaths at the very end with only a light touch.

Benefits

  • Opens the chest and invites your breath to deepen, which triggers the body’s relaxation response
  • Helps regulate your heartbeat, so you don’t have that pounding-in-your-chest feeling adding to your stress levels
  • Calms the mind as well as the body, so you can think clearly enough to get back on track

Kate Hanley is a regular contributor to Whole Living, a passionate yogi, and the author of The Anywhere, Anytime Chill Guide. She's also founder of msmindbody.com.

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Comments (2)

  • Might want to change boobs to breasts

  • Working a 60 hr wk for my nonprofit and when I get into high stress mode I speed talk. I meditate 2x daily but still go into speed mode when I am nervous or excited (heading into FDA to address topic related to pelvic organ prolapse, really need to be calm and focused to get my message across strongly); I'm hoping this technique will help level me. If you have any other accupressure suggestions, send them my way Kate!
    Thanks!
    Sherrie Palm
    Association for Pelvic Organ Prolapse Support

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