Mentally, I'm spent. But physically, I have so much restless energy. And I know I'm not alone in feeling like this — after all, the combo of now-chronic stress (thanks, 2020) plus continued quarantine life means we're all halfway between stir-crazy and exhausted at all times.
Luckily, earlier in quarantine, I stumbled across a weird new tool that seriously helps: acupressure rings.
They're kind of like a combination of a fidget spinner, jewelry, and spiral hair tie — a series of rounded metal triangles interwoven to create a ring — and you roll it up and down your fingers to de-stress. I first got one at a local boutique in Astoria, Queens; they put together these cute self-care packages for people during the beginning of quarantine, and my lovely friend bought one for me. One of these rings was inside. At first, I had no idea what to do with it. I researched acupressure rings but decided to just pop it onto my thumb and figure it out as I went.
Rolling the ring along your fingers provides a massage-like sensation; the points on the triangles aren't sharp, they don't hurt, but they definitely get into the grooves of your fingers. It almost feels like using a bumpy foam roller. I'll roll it along my thumb for, say, 30 seconds, then switch to my index finger, then my middle finger, etc. moving across both hands. The cool part is that when you take it off, your hand feels smooth, almost like that post-massage feeling, kind of tingly but warm and stimulated.
Technically, these rings are tools for acupressure, a traditional form of massage therapy that involves applying pressure to certain points on the body to address ailments. This ring isn't quite that pin-pointed (at least not how I use it), but it certainly draws on some of those same acupressure concepts. While, yes, it feels nice, the real benefit for me is less physical and more mental. When I tune into my breathing and pay attention to how long I'm rolling on each finger, it feels very methodical and almost meditative.
For the most part, I use the acupressure ring simultaneously while I’m working — especially when I'm feeling anxious or doing something that's stressing me out, like sitting in a Zoom meeting or doing something complex and creatives. But sometimes I’ll just sit on my couch and do it to wind down when I have restless energy.
I don’t know if it’s a placebo effect — and even if it is, I’ll take it. Lately, I’ve been feeling that weird mix of being drained and edgy, and I definitely feel like using an acupressure ring helps me find balance. It gives my body something to do that my brain doesn’t have to think about. I’ve always clicked or tapped pens, and I'm also a nail biter, so I know I need that sort of stimulation. Since I’ve started using the acupressure ring, I feel like I've been doing those other things less. It really helps me to take a breath, swivel the ring for a few minutes, and just calm down.
It's become such an important tool for coping with quarantine life that, at one point, when I thought I misplaced it, I bought two more. Of course, I found the first one, so now I have three. It works out perfectly, though: I keep one at my desk in my bedroom to use while I work, one on the couch for when I need to destress, and one in my bag to use on the go. Having an acupressure ring with me at all times has been really helpful for when I take the train or subway — during COVID times, it's easy to get caught up in worrying about germs, the number of people in the train car, and whether someone is sitting next to me. At first, I felt like I looked a little weird for using it in public, but it helps so much I don't even care anymore.
I bought a set for a friend for her birthday, and she said “I don’t know if they’re working, but I love them.” Amazon reviewers also praise them for helping with anxiety, stress, and other nervous tick-type habits.
One shopper who bought the acupressure rings to use during their last semester of grad school wrote:
I also use essential oils regularly, so I've started using the acupressure ring and essential oils in tandem. I have lavender, bergamot, and spearmint, and my carrier oil is jojoba oil. I’ll put the oil on my wrists and then use the acupressure ring, and it's such a nice self-care moment to check in with myself.
I recently restocked on some oils and got yet another acupressure ring from my favorite oils brand, Saje. The great news about acupressure rings is they're super affordable, so you can give one a try without any real risk. The one I got from Saje, for example, was only $6 — but you can also buy packs of multiples on Amazon for less than a dollar each (and so you can share with friends), or find them on Etsy and pay a tad more to support small businesses.
All in all, if you're suffering from anxious energy right now (and who isn't?), you have no reason not to try an acupressure ring. It's a small investment and zero-risk way to deal with life. And if it's not for you, just pass along the zen to a friend.