Making Sense of Self-Care
An Integrative Health Program to Engage Your Senses. This Week: Touch
Action of the Week
Did you know that your skin is the largest organ in your body? Touch receptors in our skin react to pressure, temperature, or vibration (Tull, 2021.) Because the skin covers the entire body and is so receptive to external stimulus, touch can have a calming effect over the entire mind-body. Acupressure is a complimentary integrative health therapy that utilizes touch and can activate all five senses. Today we will practice applying acupressure to Pericardium 8 and Yintang. Please wash hands thoroughly before practicing.
Let’s begin with PC8 Laogong. This is a wonderful point in the center of your palm where our sense of touch comes most into play. It is a calming point that disperses heat, making one feel tranquil. It’s also great for sweaty hands.
Turn your left palm facing up and with your right thumb apply a mild to medium pressure directly onto the point. Hold for at least 30 seconds; then apply circular pressure for an additional one to two minutes. Breathe in for four counts and exhale for four counts. PC-8 is a great acupoint to press during Zoom meetings, before a big presentation, crowded bus or subway or waiting for the elevator.
Now let’s practice Yintang, located at midpoint between the eyebrows, sometimes referred as the third eye. With your index or both your index and middle finger, apply mild pressure to this point. Slowly press and increase to a moderate pressure. You can add circular motion to deepen your relaxation. Tapping the point will boost energy. This point helps to calm the mind and can help aid with anxiety, insomnia, fright, agitation, restlessness, mental clarity, dizziness, frontal headache. Yintang can be stimulated before a meeting, first thing in the morning or before bed.
Touch and Sight
Color Therapy: There are certain materials/textiles we reach for when we need comfort (soft fleece or light cotton) and some we may avoid (metal or wool), take notice of the colors you reach for when you look for comfort, whether it’s through clothing, food, or art.
Touch and Hearing
Music Therapy: Showers can help your mind and muscles relax in the morning or evening. Take time under the shower to focus on the warm sensation of water as it gently falls onto your head. Listen to the sound of the water as it soothes your brain and allows any thoughts and feelings to be washed away. Being mindful of these senses can help us appreciate the natural feeling of relaxation before moving on with your day.
Touch and Smell
Aromatherapy: Following a work out, combine two to five drops of Marjoram oil to a jojoba oil or base oil of your preference. Gently massage a small amount into those sore muscles. Hopefully your muscles will melt in your hand. Marjoram helps to sooth muscles and decrease inflammation.
Touch and Taste
Mindful Eating: How does each texture of food influence your sense of taste and your enjoyment of eating the food? So often we rely on our sense of sight to guide us. Try closing your eyes and experiencing the food in your hands first or take in the textures in your mouth. This will give you new insight about the taste of the food that you may have ignored in the past.
From the Experts
Kenna Bouvet, Michelle Bombacie, & Dr. Melanie Gold
Acupressure is a system of integrative medicine, based on principles and philosophy of Traditional Chinese Medicine, that utilize specific points called “acu-points” located along energetic pathways known as channels or meridians. Qi, our vital life force flows through these meridians. Each acu-point has more than one action and corresponds to specific body parts or systems. There are over 300 points.
Begin to assess elements of the acupoint by practicing ying yang comparison. Yin and Yang are opposite qualities that evolve and are interdependent of each other. Ask yourself, “how does the acupoint feel?” Is it warm or cool, soft or tense, dry or moist, pleasant or painful, empty or full? By applying acupressure you are balancing the yin yang aspect of your mind-body, leading to a grounded, calm, and balanced position.
Whether you’re using acupressure or stimulating your senses through nature, your touch sense is all around you. Soak your feet in a warm bath, splash cold water over your face, feel the sun radiating on your skin, or feel the warmth of sand in-between your toes (Bennet, 2018.)
Tapping is another modality that incorporates acupressure. For more information follow the link included by Dr. Melanie Gold: Tapping for Energy!
- Deadman, P. Al-Khafaji, M. & Baker, K. (2007). A manual of acupuncture. East Essex, England: Journal of Chinese Medicine Publications.
- Ladas, E. J. & Kelly, K. M. (2012). Integrative strategies for cancer patients. Singapore: World Scientific Publishing Co.
Welcome to the instant boost of energy tapping meditation. This short meditation is designed to give you that extra energy when you need it most. We will start with some brief statements about how you may be feeling and then jump right into the positive affirmations to give you that instant boost you are looking for.
Take a moment to notice how drained or tired you feel on a scale from 0 to 10, where 0 is not feeling drained or tired and 10 is feeling the most drained or tired. Got the number? Great now let’s do some tapping.
Start by taking a gentle breath in….and let it go. Start tapping on the side of the hand on the karate chop point on the pinky side of your hand with the index, middle and ring fingertips of your other hand.
While you continue tapping on the Karate chop point say out loud or silently to yourself:
- Even though I feel so tired, I choose to get my body’s energy flowing now
- Even though I just don’t have enough energy, I choose to feel invigorated now.
- Even though parts of me feel so run down, I can create new energy within my body now.
Now shift to gently tapping each of the following points with your index and middle fingertips with one or both hands:
Eye brow points: A rush of energy is flowing throughout my entire body.
Side of the eyes: I feel alive and energized.
Under the eyes: My whole body is calm and alert.
Under the nose: I can raise my energy levels now.
Under the mouth: Feeling so strong, so confident.
Under the collarbones: I’ve got the energy to do what I need to do.
Under the arm: Feeling so strong, so safe.
Top of the head: So full of energy, vitality, and joy, right now.
Now back to the eyebrow taking a gentle breath in and just tune into your body and visualize every part of yourself infused with energy. Find that reservoir of energy within.
Side of the eyes: So calm, so relaxed, but full of confidence, strength, peace, energy, and joy. You have energy within you and you are unlocking it right now.
Under the eyes: With every tap you release everything that is weighing you down. All the responsibilities, all the stress, all the overwhelm, all the emotional charges gone now. When you free yourself from them, the energy within gets stronger and stronger.
Under the nose: You have limitless energy within you. Energy to create what you want in your life. You are in control. Feel that energy now.
Under the mouth: So strong, so safe, so confident, so ready to create what you want in the world.
Under the collarbones: Even stronger, even more calm, full of energy, every cell in your body is charged with energy.
Under the arm: So relaxed and ready to go, ready to create what you want in your life.
Top of the head: Even more energy. So strong, so invigorated, ready to go.
And you can gently stop tapping and take a breath in…..and let it go…..
Now tune back in to how drained or tired you feel and rate the intensity with a new number on a scale from 0 to 10. (Pause)
You are a powerhouse of energy. You can create this energy within with just a few simple taps. You let go of the stress, the overwhelm, and you find that reservoir of energy within. Feel that energy. And now take it and go, go create what you want in the world, go get done what you want to get done. You’ve got this. Go enjoy that energy, go create something wonderful in the world with it. And as always, take care and keep tapping.