Ever wondered why pretzels(Ger. Brezeln) are shaped the way they are? There are several different stories, but most refer to medieval devotional practices in Austria, Bavaria and Switzerland.
Given as New Year’s gifts to parishioners for good luck, or as unleavened bread during lent, pretzels depict the custom of crossing one’s arms (Lat. Bracchia) and positioning the hands in prayer either on the shoulders or just beneath the collar bone. Most stories mention that the position of the hands on or near the shoulders, like the position of hands folded in prayer, shows the peaceful intentions of the practitioner, and/or submission to the service of God.
However, there is more to it, and perhaps that was known to the monks who handed out the delicious gifts. In Chinese and Japanese acupressure, the areas beneath the collarbones, in the most general sense, are held to relieve stress and physical tension.
So try a Pretzel: Cross your arms put index, middle and ring fingers beneath the collarbone, find your individual sore spots, using enough pressure to connect with the tightness. Hold and, after a while, you might feel a pulse in both hands. Let that happen for a few minutes, breathing gently and deeply.
Too awkward while in public? Hold one side at a time.
For those of you interested in the acupressure points for the pretzel: Jin Shin Jyutsu – SEL#22; Jin Shin Do – Acu Point #3; Acupressure – K-27.