The $8 billion workplace wellness industry in the U.S. encourages employees to reduce stress, sleep better, increase productivity, and eat better. By 2020, it’s expected that two-thirds of large employers will have onsite healthcare options for all employees. And acupuncture, telehealth, physical therapy and massage therapy are top growth areas for onsite clinic services.
But you don’t need to host an acupuncture clinic at work to get some of the benefits of Chinese medicine at your desk. Here are five ways acupuncture and classical Chinese medicine can help you through your workday―with little to no cost.
Reduce Your Headache with Acupressure
Give yourself a massage at He-Gu―an acupoint found on the high point between the thumb and index fingers when they are brought close together. Dig in on the highest spot of the muscle until your headache is gone. He Gu is also used for stress, facial pain, headaches and toothaches.
Clear Your Sinuses with Tuina
There is nothing worse than a runny nose during a meeting. Clear your sinuses with self-massage. Start by rubbing your hands together to warm them up. Place your index and middle fingers on either side of the forehead, just above the eyebrows. For about 30 seconds, massage slowly in a circular outward motion, working your way outward, toward the temples to breathe easy.
Increase Your Immunity with Ginger Tea
Ginger root, or Sheng Jiang, is a tasty Chinese herb that can help your body fight colds. According to Chinese medicine texts, Sheng Jiang “warms and circulates qi in the middle burner” and “disperses cold,” allowing your body to put up a tough defense against the germs that lurk around the office. Chop up a few slices of fresh ginger and throw them in a cup of hot water during your workday to keep your immunity strong.
Decrease Stress with Desk Qigong
Qigong (pronounced chee-gong) is a collection of ancient Chinese exercise and breathing techniques that involves meditation, controlled breathing, and movement exercises. To give yourself a break from workday stress, set your phone’s timer for three minutes and then sit on the edge of your chair, lay both hands on your abdomen, and begin to notice your breathing. Encourage your lower abdomen to move with your breath. As you breathe in, notice your belly expand. As you breathe out, notice your belly relax inward. That’s it!
Boost Your Energy with More Qigong
When that afternoon slump hits, beat the slump by bouncing―another qigong technique. With your feet parallel and about shoulder-width apart, bounce with your knees loose and your arms hanging at your side like wet noodles. When you are bouncing back and forth, your arms should start to jiggle. Remember to keep your shoulders neutral; don’t pull them back or slump forward, and allow yourself to shake, shake, shake! Make it a team-building exercise by inviting a coworker or two to join you.
Sarah Hammer Stevens, LAc, is adjunct faculty at NUNM. In addition to teaching the Business of Medicine series, she owns and manages To The Point PDX, one of the largest corporate medicine providers in the country. To The Point PDX hosts over 250 pop-up acupuncture and massage clinics a year throughout workplaces in Oregon, California, Washington and Minnesota.