Acupressure is an alternative treatment that may help treat certain conditions such as anxiety and depression. It is unclear whether it can work to improve self-confidence specifically, but it may help improve mental well-being.

Acupressure is the practice of applying pressure to certain points on the body to trigger a response.

Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) suggests that acupressure helps restore the balance of qi, or energy within the body, to treat health problems.

Scientific evidence has shown acupressure can alter chemical substances within the body that may change a person’s mental or emotional state.

This article looks at the research behind acupressure and self-confidence and how acupressure may help treat conditions such as anxiety and depression. We also look at other techniques people can use to improve self-confidence.

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Acupressure is an alternative treatment based on the technique of acupuncture. Acupressure applies pressure in specific areas to stimulate certain points in the body.

According to research, acupressure may affect levels of neurotransmitters and hormones in neural pathways in the body, which may help a person:

According to TCM, qi, or energy, flows through 12 meridian points in the body, which contain 365 acupoints relating to specific areas of the body.

TCM suggests that an imbalance in this flow of energy can result in disease and problems in the body. Practitioners believe that acupressure can rebalance the flow of energy.

There appears to be no specific evidence linking acupressure and self-confidence, but acupressure may affect emotional and mental well-being.

The brain produces opioids within the body, such as enkephalins and endorphins, which react with opioid receptors. These opioids help regulate bodily functions and control how the body perceives pain.

Acupressure may stimulate opioids within the body. This may affect how people behave socially and improve psychological well-being.

Although acupressure may or may not directly improve self-confidence, research shows it can help treat other conditions that may affect a person’s confidence.

A 2015 study looked at the effects of acupressure to treat anxiety in people undergoing treatment for cancer.

According to the study, anxiety can have a negative effect on a person’s mental and physical performance and quality of life and can even affect treatment and hospitalization.

The double-blind, randomized trial involved 85 people who were hospitalized and included a group receiving acupressure, a group receiving fake acupressure, and a control group.

The results showed a significant decrease in mean anxiety levels for those receiving acupressure compared with the other two groups.

In another study, researchers looked at the effects of acupressure on depression, stress, and anxiety in people undergoing hemodialysis, a treatment for kidney disease.

Half of the 108 participants had acupressure treatment three times a week alongside regular treatment, while the control group had only regular treatment.

The results showed a significant reduction in depression, anxiety, stress, and general psychological distress in the acupressure group. However, scoring for “social dysfunction” remained the same for both groups.

A 2021 study found that acupressure was effective in reducing anxiety in soldiers, particularly in the acupoint known as LI4, or “hegu,” located in the webbed area between the thumb and index finger.

The American Psychological Association defines self-confidence as:

  • self-assurance
  • trusting one’s own abilities, judgement, and capacities
  • believing that one is capable of meeting certain demands, such as a task, successfully

According to the mental health charity Mind, the following tips can help people to build their confidence and self-esteem:

  • Being kind to themselves: People can try to challenge overly critical or unkind thoughts and talk to themselves as they would to a loved one. Remember that mistakes are normal.
  • Avoiding comparison: Try to avoid comparison with others and remember that social media can be a filtered version of reality.
  • Positive affirmations: Repeat positive statements, such as “I am enough” or “I am worthy.”
  • Focusing on self-care and well-being: Make sure to sleep well, eat and drink healthily, exercise regularly, and spend time in nature.
  • Celebrating successes: Acknowledge or celebrate any big or small achievements. People can make a list of compliments, qualities they like in themselves, or things they have done well that day.
  • Spending time with others: People can spend time with people they trust, connect with, and feel good around. People may also want to volunteer or help others.
  • Being assertive: People can practice giving their opinion or telling others what they need or want, in a respectful but firm way. Practice saying “yes” or “no” to people to build healthy boundaries.
  • Doing something enjoyable: People can make sure to do activities they enjoy or find relaxing, such as a hobby, sport, or something creative.
  • Acting confident: People can practice standing more confidently or practice what they want to say to others in a mirror. This may help them feel more confident in certain situations.
  • Trying something new: Trying a new activity, learning a new skill, or joining a new group may help people feel more confident.

Research has found that positive self-affirmations may help people maintain a positive view of themselves and feel more self-competent.

Researchers found that using positive affirmations increased activity in certain areas of the brain relating to reward and positive valuation compared with people who did not use affirmations.

Acupressure applies pressure to certain points in the body, called acupoints.

Although there is currently no clear evidence that acupressure can improve self-confidence, acupressure may help improve mental or emotional well-being.

Acupressure may help relieve anxiety, stress, and depression, which may all have an effect on a person’s confidence.

People may find that other techniques, such as positive self-talk and affirmations, assist them in building self-confidence.