I often find in clinic at this time of year tension rears its ugly head, a combination of acupuncture, massage and cupping does amazing stuff to help release tension, both physically and mentally. The Traditional East Asian Medical model, that acupuncture is rooted in, has created a system, based on centuries of observation, to explain the ever shifting, world in which we live. Spring is associated with the Wood Element. It is associated with growth – with outward, expansive movement.. when we feel frustrated, or stressed, or angry we tend to tense up, physically pulling our shoulders up, our jaw tenses, our abdomen contracts. This can become chronic and cause pain, discomfort and even headaches, digestive issues, menstrual problems and insomnia.
Not only is it spring, but its UK’s Stress Awareness Month – most of the folks I work with are under some level of stress, and typically related most to the Wood Element. In addition to acupuncture treatments I love being able to share all the tools and tips I’ve picked up over the year in pursuit of my own well-being. Below are different ways you can learn how to get tension release, including acupressure, the silent scream and mindset work.
Make YOU a priority:
Put yourself at the top of the priority list for even a few minutes a day. The gorgeous Gary Rankin recently taught me to create a MASSIVE list of possible self care ideas, from 30 seconds to a 5 day retreat (or longer). Simply a long list of all the things you’d consider self care to you. From brushing your teeth, meditation, exercise, food choices, cleaning products you use, tools like the Silent scream, to full on therapy and everything in between – and then commit to complete ONE of them a day – if you do more YAY! The more you find ways to relax and look after yourself, the less stressed you’ll feel and the less tension you will have, therefore helping to release tension.
Celebrate when you do
Have you been saying for years that you’ll start that exercise class, take up meditation but somehow not found the time. For sure you are not alone, I am not a consistent person when it comes to my own self care – but I’m working on it! And im working on it from a place of compassion – rather than being ANOTHER job to do, i take the time to luxuriate in my weekly bath, full of epsom salts to replenish my magnesium. I congradulate myself when I achieve that thing I know will help me – even giving myself gold stars (with rewards for once Ive collected a certain number!)
Tension release by developing an Attitude of Gratitude.
There is scientific evidence to support that gratitude creates a reaction in the areas of the brain connected with reward, morality and increases the happy hormones including dopamine, seretonin and oxytocin – a fabulous cocktail that will help release tension. Start each day with 3 or 5 (or more!) things that you are grateful for – try not to say the same each day.. and once its a practice start to find the good in those things you think are bad… e.g. lockdown/pandemic/ this whole last year in so many ways has been sooo very hard for so many of us in so many ways – however – never have I had so much down time to relax – to create outwith work and to create more online help like my body detective course! (currently in beta testing!)
The Silent Scream: my absolute fav tool for tension release
I have done a lot of work on myself since my 20s and have shared about my story here. As part of the work I did with amazing therapist Kalyani Ma Mukti I learned a fantastic technique to help both physically and mentally release tension, aggitation, anxiety, anger, grief.
Acupressure for Tension release.
To help ease, and regulate that Wood energy – that stress and tension this point is an amazing one to use. Sit yourself on the floor, or on your sofa if its wide enough to pull both feet up. Feel from the web between your big and 2nd toe: run your finger up until you are stopped by the joining of more bones (the proximal heads of the 1st and 2nd metatarsals) that big dip just before those joining bones is where you’ll find that point. Chances are its a wee bitty tender, kinda bruised feeling. Apply pressure to it for 5-10 minutes for maximum benefit.
The acupuncture Point is called Tai Chong (Liver 3): it helps to regulate and calm down the sometimes overly exuberant Wood energies. It helps to reduce and release tension, reducing headaches, alleviating Pre Menstral Tension (PMT) and menstrual cramping & pain, insomnia, regulates blood pressure (especially helpful for reducing hypertension).
I’ve been known to stand on one foot, with the other shoe/foot aiming for this point when feeling frustrated standing in a queue or when my PMT is simmering away i’ll lie in the bath and use my big toes to stimulate this point.
Changing perspective to release tension: Acupuncture Point Gall Bladder 14
Helping to shift perspective: there are acupuncture points that do help us to see clearly, to create decisions that we can stick to. This lovely wee pair is found in line with your pupil (when looking straight ahead). I tend to run my finger lightly DOWN my forehead and find my finger naturally stops here – just before the skull curves out to create the eyebrow line – it is also 1 thumb width (an acupuncturists inch) above the top of the natural eyebrow.
This point is really helpful in enabling us see that there are other choices out there – helping us to see the wood in the trees!! The ability to grow requires a growth mindset – one that is open to other ideas, to be able to accept the absolute certainty that is change.
We all have a mix of growth and closed mindset to different things – if someone suggests something to you – do you instantly say nope not for me, or do you consider it? The more we can become conscious of how often we behave in a closed way, the more we can learn to challenge that and the more we can grow and embrace life on life’s terms.
This point is also helpful when we are unsure of which choice to make – there are several famous folks who are known to wear the exact same clothing every day, to eat the same foods each day – to remove some of the MANY MANY daily choices we have to make, so they can focus on other ones.
Jaw tension: if you are a clencher or gringer, or binge eater chances are you have pain and tension in your jaw, temples, into your head, down into you neck too! There is a fab point on the ear that helps to instantly release that jaw tension. See the lobe of your ear like a circle, divide that circle into 4 equal parts (like slicing a cake), the bottom one closest to your jaw.. in the centre of that segment is the point. As with the others apply pressure consistently for 5-10 minutes (or purchase one of my ear seed kits!)
Orgasms are great for tension release!
Thankfully we are returning to a time of being able to enjoy sex again – guilt free. The rush of blood and happy hormones that accompany orgasms are just blissful – there is a reason it can be addictive. We don’t all have partners, nor do we necessarily want to involve them all the time – don’t be shy/afraid to help yourself! Interesting to note that for females orgasms are considered to nourish us in TEAM (Traditional East Asian Medicine) terms, but deplete the men – so perhaps Tantric practices have their place 🙂
Movement is another fabulous way to help reduce tension. Include stretching, or full blown cardio, HIIT exercises, or more gentle Tai Chi/Qi Gong. Moving helps to keep our Qi flowing, it helps the muscles to stretch, to strengthen, it improves the flow of blood (and all the nutrients/hormones that travel with the blood). It helps to move toxins through the body, helping to support the lymph system.
Releasing Tension takes a change in many areas of life.
Tension manifests as sore, tight muscles, but also headaches, jaw ache, feeling irritable. Our bodies and minds are complicated entities that are in the state they are in after a combination of everything that is life. It usually requires more than one thing, and more than ONCE for these patterns to start to break down. I hope you find the acupressure, the self care list, the encouragement to orgasm all helpful and if you need more support drop us a message. We can create a personalised online support plan with specific exercises and stretches, foods that will help and acupressure, if of course you are unable to come to the clinic!