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Acupressure to Help with Panic Attacks

By: Vanessa Vogel Batt L.Ac. MSOM

Shortness of breath. Anxiousness. A heart that feels like it's going to pop out of your chest. These are the tell-tale signs and symptoms of a panic attack. They often come on abruptly and reach a peak within minutes, making you feel irrational and out of control. On the onset of a panic attack, though you think you're deviceless, you're not; there are some acupressure points on the body that can help.

One of the most significant points to reduce the symptoms of a panic attack resides within the inner arm, and it's easy to reach. To locate it, place three fingers starting from the wrist crease, between the two tendons in the middle of the inner arm, and the point will be right where the finger furthest from the wrist lies. Just press down and make tiny circular movements until you feel relief from your symptoms. If possible, have someone else do this for you.

The name of this point is called Inner Gate, and it provides relief for a host of symptoms, including tachycardia (rapid heartbeat), light-headedness, acute anxiety or fright, nausea, vomiting, and for an all-around feeling of disconnect. Although acupressure at Inner Gate can produce strong results, it is gentle enough to be used by pregnant women and frail, weak patients.

Another point is found in the center of the forehead, roughly a centimeter above the hairline. Spirit Courtyard, as it is termed, implies that it is the entrance to your house (mind). It processes information and sensations coming into the brain that ultimately affects your physical body. By pressing down on this point with your fingertips or using your fingernail to stimulate the area, you can treat anxiety as well as seizures, vertigo, and heart palpitations.

For a mighty swell of energy to your body, reach for your toes during a panic. Located in the depression between the tendons emanating from the big toe and the next one over, about an inch down from the base of the toes, is a point called Great Surge. It can manage surges of energy in the body by calming down forces that are out of control and shifting upward. Feel free to vigorously rub the whole area in an up and down motion from the base of the toes up to about two inches. As the energy begins to travel throughout the body, symptoms such as anxiety, vertigo, and headache should start to subside.

Another option is the Ear Heart, a point that lies at the very center of the little 'cave' right next to the opening of your ear. The pinky is the perfect size to stimulate this area. This point is renowned for relieving anxiety or, as it is poetically stated according to the theory of acupuncture and Oriental medicine, calming the Shen. The Shen generally refers to a person's vitality, cognitive functions, mental health or, more whimsically put, one's spirit. It is safe to say that when there is panic, the Shen is disturbed and therefore needs calming.

It's a good idea to become familiar with the location of all these acupressure points to help yourself or someone else in need.

Contact an acupuncturist today to schedule an appointment and to learn how acupuncture and Oriental medicine can help you!

Source: Mayo Clinic. (2018). Panic attacks and panic disorder. Retrieved from

About the Author: Vanessa Vogel Batt, L.Ac., MSTOM, studied at the Pacific College of Oriental Medicine, and practiced acupuncture and Oriental medicine in New York for several years. Vanessa enjoys traveling the world, and has published articles on acupuncture and Oriental medicine and related health topics for websites and publications in both the U.S. and abroad.

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