Acupressure, a type of massage, is one of the many types of treatments commonly employed in the Traditional Chinese Medicine healing system. Other types of therapies include acupuncture, herbal medicine, cupping, exercise, dietary therapy, and more. Although there is no substitute for a qualified licensed professional who has had years of training, there are also simple things that you can do to take care of your own health on a daily basis. Acupressure is one type of method that we can all do to increase health, vitality, and overall quality of life.
Although acupressure is generally very safe and gentle, there are some precautions:
- Without professional training, avoid performing acupressure on abdominal points, since if there are any problems in this area, occasionally they are not detectable and acupressure could potentially make the condition worse
- If you are pregnant, it’s best to avoid acupressure unless performed by a qualified licensed practitioner; some acupressure points are quite strong and may cause premature labor
- Avoid areas of broken skin, near areas of recent injury or surgery, varicose veins, or cancerous tumors
Benefits: Acupressure helps to relieve muscle tension, relieves pain, decreases stress, increases blood circulation and the circulation of Qi in the acupuncture channels for better overall health.
Method: Breathe deeply, gently, and slowly throughout the treatment. Apply deep, gentle yet firm, pressure on the point for around 40 seconds up to 3 minutes, and repeat about 3 times for each point. You can either press and hold, or use a circular motion. There may be slight discomfort and tension at the point, but it should not be painful – adjust the amount of pressure accordingly. There may also be referred pain to another area. The whole body is connected, and if there is a site of referred pain, massage that point as well.
Some commonly used acupressure points:
- Large Intestine 4 (He Gu): Located in the soft fleshy area between the bones of the thumb and index finger; use this point for headaches, painful periods, sinus pressure, abdominal pain, constipation, diarrhea, stress, toothache, neck pain (Caution: this is one of the strongest points for inducing labor in pregnant women, so do not use this point at all if pregnant!)
- Liver 3 (Tai Chong): Located in the soft fleshy area between the bones of the big toe and 2nd toe, analogous to the location of Large Intestine 4 on the hand; Commonly used along with Large Intestine 4 for stress relief; also good for low back pain, menstrual cramps, depression, anxiety, insomnia.
- Pericardium 6 (Nei Guan): Located about 2 inches from the wrist crease, in the depression in the middle of the inner wrist, between 2 large tendons; great point for nausea; chest tension due to stress or anxiety (caution: if there is chest pain, and you think it’s a medical emergency, call 9-1-1!); also good for hiccups
- Stomach 36 (Zu San Li): To locate, place your hand just below the kneecap width-wise; the point is just to the outer side of the shin bone, about 4 finger-breadths from the bottom of the kneecap. This is probably the most often used acupuncture point because it has so many uses. It is commonly used to increase health and longevity. It is also a great point for nausea, and can be used along with Pericardium 6. It also increases energy, relieves digestive system problems, relieves stress, and has many more functions.
- Yin Tang: This point is located just between the eyebrows. It’s a great point for stress, anxiety, insomnia, headaches, and sinus congestion.
These are just a few useful acupressure points. I encourage you to learn more points to give you better health!
(It is recommended that you use this information under the guidance of a physician or licensed acupressure practitioner)