How acupressure and acupuncture can help you manage stress and anxiety

Learn how to do acupressure online!

Calm and centre yourself with ancient therapeutic techniques

Acupuncture is today well known to bring the human body to balance., and help to release stress and anxiety.

It helps people to manage acute and chronic conditions, and as with any Chinese medicine therapeutic tool, it is based on the art of self-cultivating practices which aim to regulate the body’s natural biorhythms. 

Although acupuncture is a treatment that requires a specialised health professional to insert needles in specific points of your body, you can a also learn, guided by an expert practitioner, how to apply acupressure (using a ball) on specific points on the acupuncture channels, to treat yourself.

In this article we are going to talk about how and why these ancient therapeutic techniques can both, bring immediate results when treating anxiety and stress.


The Mai System

The Mai System is a giant web commonly translated in the West as the meridian system or acupuncture channels.

Supplying Chi to the body

The Mai System is a comprehensive net that embodies the form of a complex body map that supplies Chi to every part of the body.

It assists the distribution of blood and body fluids, maintains the balance between Yin and Yang elements, benefits good posture and protects the body against disease. 

In the Mai System, the twelve major channels form the major structure, branching out twelve large collaterals (lines) to enter the chest, abdomen and head and connect with the internal organs; and fifteen external collaterals to run along the limbs and on the trunk. 

There are also twelve small collaterals for supporting the muscles and tendons, and smaller collaterals distributed on the surface of the skin. 

Completing the web, the eight extraordinary meridians, also called The Eight Curious Vessels, consolidate the communication and functions within the system. They all work closely together, and just as in any ecosystem, a dysfunction in one, usually affects the other. 

By connecting and uniting different parts of our body, these channels or rivers provide the transport for fundamental substances of Chi, blood, and body fluids. 

Along these channels the flow of Chi concentrates or “injects” to the body surface. These specific body areas are known as acupuncture points, and although they are located externally, they can be worked on through acupuncture, acupressure and specific exercises to regulate their corresponding organs or channels internally so that the body can maintain or return to a state of balance and health.

Chi and your emotions

Emotions are part of our human nature.

They emanate like waves from within triggered by a comment, news, a simple thought or memory that creates inner movement. They are part of our existence, teaching us how to move through life.  They serve us a purpose. 

If they flow naturally, come and go dynamically without getting to any extreme, the body tends to naturally go back to its homeostatic state.

Nevertheless, emotions when chronically present or acutely lived can ¨ blind us¨ loosing their helpful purpose, becoming detrimental to our health.

They can have a dramatic impact on the body’s natural functioning.

Breathing, blood flow, peristaltic activity and digestion for example all require the body to effortlessly expand and contract which is directly connected to Chi flow.

Any restriction of this natural pulse leads to internal tensions.

If a child for instance, repeatedly experiences feelings of fear, anxiety and insecurity whilst growing up, their body will react defensively, subtly altering natural Chi flow which gradually builds a permanent holding pattern of tension in the physical and mental body. 

This pattern, if not treated, will tend to remain present in the body and the in mind even when there is no real threat and over time go on to affect the quality of that child’s adult life. 

Constant anxiety = stomach issues

To give you and example of how anxiety can result in physical issues.

The stomach organ system’s main physiological function is to help digestion turning external nutrients into living substance.

It also give us a point of stability where our metabolism and psyche are in dynamic balance, providing us with primary existential nourishment, a sense of centerdness. 

The acupuncture stomach channel itself ensures that the movement of Chi remains downwards to aid digestion.

Constant anxiety reverses the channel movement impairing digestion and deep breathing.

This is the case of people who with indigestion, stomach reflux, hiatus hernias, stomach ulcers, etc.

Learn how to release your anxiety with acupressure

Kidney essence, your tank of energy

We all know that stress is part of life and that our body has mechanisms to deal with it.  

When under stress, our adrenal glands (which are on top of our kidneys) secrets an enormous amount stress  hormones such as cortisol, epinephrine and norepinephrine causing a surge of energy.

This leads to increased heart rate, blood pressure, and glucose metabolism – the fight or flight response.

This is natural and primitive reaction to ensure survival, based on an acute state of fear when we are under real physical threat, but it has become for the majority of people, a general modus operandi.

Our modern society, with its culture based on valuing the fast attainment of objectives and success as well as the possession of material things, has turned this state of fear, of not being able to accomplish enough, of not be able to be up to the task, of not being good enough, into a constant level of stress built into our systems.

Not at all a coincidence that fear in Chinese medicine is related to the kidney organ system which is also the storehouse for physical essence also known as kidney essence.

Kidney essence is with us in finite quantities from the time we’re conceived, but naturally declines as we get older.

It’s a tank of energy, like a savings account if you like, and while it’s okay to access some of that inherited energy from time to time, abusing this inner resource with chronic stress and anxiety will accelerate in a rapid rate the ageing process.

In Chinese medicine, all the bodily systems rely on the Kidney for Chi, for the energy to function. It also maintains a balance between the Yin and Yang energies in the body, and within each organ system.

Book a session and release your stress!

In Chinese Medicine the organs encompass a much broader meaning than in Western thinking

Simply put, they are actually part of a physical-emotional-mental functional sphere and each of them contributes to modelling the character of the person, as well as how specific areas and tissues of the body are manifesting.

How does Chi actually affect the physical and mental body?

Chi flows through the body in different depths in the Mai System like a system of stream and rivers that flows to the organs and various parts of the body. 

Each Mai has its own qualities and their respective acupuncture points have specific functions such as sending Chi down and inwards up and outwards. 

The Five Shu Points

The Five Shu points are located in the 12 major channels of the May System. Each of these energy pathways relates, represents and expresses the qualities of its corresponding organs.

All the Five Shu points are, as rule, located between the end of the fingers and toes and the joints of the elbow and knee.

They are called: 

  • Jing (well) 

  • Ying (spring)

  • Shu (stream) 

  • Jing (river)

  • He (sea)

The progression of the size and depth of the Mai is independent of the direction that the channels flow, that is, it applies equally to Yin and Yang channels of both arms and legs.

The Five Shu points contribute to harmonise the organisation of all structures and functions of the body systems.

The Back Shu & the Front Mu points

There are some other major points in the body where the Chi of the internal organs is infused. Since they are considered alarming points, they are not only important in the treatment of the Chi of the respective organ systems , but they are also very useful in the diagnosis of their imbalance. In the west, they are named after their corresponding organs:

The Back Shu points

Lung – Feishu at BL13                                                       

Pericardium – Jueyinshu at BL14                                                 

Heart – Yinshu at BL15                                                                                                                    

Diaphragm– Dushu at BL17                                                               

Liver – Ganshu at BL18                                                                     

Gall Bladder – Danshu at BL19                                                      

Spleen – Pishu at BL20                                                              

Stomach– Weishu at BL21                                                                 

Triple Warmer– Sanjiaoshu at BL22                                              

Kidney– Shenshu at BL23                                                                 

Large Intestine – Dachangshu at BL25                                              

Small Intestine – Xiaochangshu at BL27                                         

Bladder Pangguangshu at BL28

Located in the back, beside both sides of the column.

The Front Mu points:

 Lung   Zhongfu at LU 1                                        

Large Intestine  Tianshu at ST 25                        

Stomach – Zhongwan at CV 12                                

Spleen – Zhangmen at LV 13                                     

Heart – Juque at CV 14                                           

Small Intestine  Guanyuan at CV 4                          

Bladder – Zhongji at CV 3                                       

Kidney – Jingmen  at GB 25                             

Pericardium – Shanzhong at CV 17                             

Triple Warmer – Shimen at CV 5                                 

Gall Bladder – Riyue at GB                                         

Liver – Qimen at LV 14

Located in different parts of the front of the body in the abdomen and chest area. 

4 session online course - How to apply acupressure

Vicious cycles of stress and anxiety

When an emotion or attitude initiates a ¨wave ¨ of Chi movement, followed by a neural and metabolical change, this change, when unconscious, tends to deepen or complicates the attitude and intensify Chi flow.

It easily put us in a loop where the emotion produces intense thoughts and the thoughts keep on adding charge on the emotion which results in disrupting Chi flow further and therefore an increased of the chemical changes.

This state of body/mind can cascade until major physical and mental symptoms start to appear.

Since the body has an innate wisdom to let us know what is going on inside, when stress and anxiety become chronic certain signs and symptoms of Chi imbalanced would be already showing.

Such symptoms can be:

  • agitation
  • muscle stiffness
  • shortness of breath
  • shaking hands
  • jaw rigidity
  • headaches
  • period disorders
  • impotence
  • lack of libido
  • indigestion
  • insomnia
  • forgetfulness
  • lack of concentration
  • pain

Yes, pain!

Contact us so we can care for your body

High or low concentration of Chi?

As mentioned earlier in this article, the bio electricity, Chi, that runs within the channels and form our hologram is what gives the body cells motility.

If the concentration of Chi is high in one part or body segment, there would be a lot of cell motility at that area.

Because our body is a whole eco system, a high concentration in one area will lead to low concentration in another, leaving the later with cells low motility.

A body tissue, lets say, muscle or fascia, will show signs of sharp pain if Chi is highly concentred and dull pain with Chi is scarce.

Its state of health will depend on the quality and circulation of Chi in the respective channel/body part. 

In clinical practice very often people ask for help thinking they have a back problem and what they actually have most of the time, is an organ system imbalance showing alarming signs of high or low concentration of Chi, leading to sensitivity or tenderness in their respective Back Shu point, due long term stress and anxiety.

Another common symptom that may accompany insomnia, headaches and indigestion is tiredness in the legs (depletion of the Five Shu Points) and pain and stiffness in the neck, due to a lack of Chi in the lower body and an excess of Chi in the head and shoulders.

Since Chi is directly connected with emotions and thoughts the Huangdi Neijing ancient medical text, extracted from Suwen chapter 39 describes these disruptions well:

When there is anger, the Chi rises up.

When there is obsessive thought, the Chi is knotted.

When there is euphoria, the Chi becomes loose.

When there is sadness, the Chi is scarce.

When there is horrific fear, the Chi descends.

When there is startling with fright, the Chi is in disorder.

Learn how to manage stress and anxiety with self acupressure!

Balancing the Mai System

Modern medicine manages stress and anxiety controlling the body chemically via medication.

Conventional doctors also recommend good diet and regular exercises followed the importance of doing regular check ups.

Chinese medicine that sees the human body as microcosmos reflecting the macrocosmos we live in, does that via balancing the Mai System which brings the body to a natural homeostatic state.

When Chi in the Mai System has a good quality and circulate well, our physiological processes flow smoothly, we feel alive, yet relaxed.

We have clarity of mind, we feel engaged and deeply connected to life.


Post written by specialist and physiotherapist Aline Tisato.

Personal and online services

If you are looking for a more balanced state of body/mind, you can treat stress and anxiety with specialised health professional that based on your signs and symptoms can regulate your biorhythms by tonifying (increase the available energy of a bodily part or system) or dispersing specific acu-points bringing immediate results.




  • SOS Immediate Stress Release Online Session – 90 min
  • Personal Stress and Anxiety Management Kit, an online 4 sessions course (60 min each) on how to apply acupressure (using a tennis ball and positioning) on specific channel points and in the correct order, tailor made for you.

By unwrapping the Chi flow, restoring optimum functioning to compromised tissues, balancing and integrating the body, we help it reclaim its full strength and natural wisdom. 

Our self-esteem, freedom of movement and vitality are all directly connected to the quality of our life force.

Contact us to book your session or course today!

Latest articles

Straight from the studio