You know that squeezing or massaging various points of your body can relieve stress, like when you rub your temples when you’re overwhelmed at work. But what if we told you that the trick can also curb cravings and maybe help you drop a few pounds?
Sounds too good to be true, but it’s possible if done correctly, says Daniel Hsu, doctor of acupuncture and Oriental medicine and owner of New York AcuHealth Acupuncture. When you apply pressure to certain areas—no needles required!—you can access major acupuncture points in the body, which help regulate the hypothalamus, the center in your brain that controls appetite, digestion, hunger hormones, and stress hormones.
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Here, Hsu shares three simple yet effective points to press when the urge to overeat strikes:
Base of your neck
With both hands, massage the area where your hairline meets your neck on either side of the spine. This area is generally tight on everyone because it’s where major muscles connect your back and scalp, says Hsu. In addition to reduced cravings, it’s great for stress and headaches.
Back of your hand
With the thumb of one hand, press firmly—almost to the point of discomfort—into the fleshy area between the thumb and forefinger on your other hand for about 30 seconds. This also works well for pain relief and stress.
Massaging either your temples or the area between your eyebrows can be very effective, as both of these points are located near bundles of nerves, and stimulating them helps relax the nervous system and release serotonin, a mood-boosting neurotransmitter that helps suppress appetite.