Acupressure therapy is sometimes called pressure acupuncture and has been used for thousands of years in traditional Chinese medicine. This simple, yet effective technique involves putting pressure on points that sit on meridians in the body. This, in turn, promotes relaxation and is said to help remedy a variety of conditions.
The therapy is based on the understanding that vital energy qi (pronounced chi) flows through the meridians. Twelve meridians connect organs into an organized system of communication through the entire body. It is believed that illness occurs when one or more of the meridians are blocked or out of balance. The benefits of acupressure also reduce tension, improve circulation, and increase the stimulation of brain chemicals called endorphins, which help to alleviate pain.
Although you can visit a specialist in acupressure, there is quite a bit you can do to bring balance back to your own body at home. Here are ten acupressure points that everyone should know.
For headaches – Joining the Valley acupressure point is found in the fleshy area between the thumb and the index finger, at the highest spot in the muscle when the thumb and index finger are close together. This spot is useful if you have a headache. It can also help with toothaches, neck pain, shoulder pain, constipation, hangovers, and arthritis. Press and massage this point for a couple of minutes and repeat with the other hand Note: Do not press on this spot if you are pregnant.
For chronic fatigue and eye strain – The Third Eye point is located on the knobby spot that is on the bridge between your eyebrows and nose. If you suffer from chronic fatigue, insomnia, eye strain, or stress, this is a great spot to try. Use your middle finger to gently press on the spot for a few seconds to one minute then release. Repeat a few times a week for best results.
For stomach issues – The leg Three Miles is a point that is often used to help remedy digestive woes, including indigestion, diarrhea, bloating, gas, nausea, constipation, and vomiting. Also, this acupressure point helps to boost the immune system, decrease fatigue, and promote overall health and wellness. To find the point, bend your leg and place your fingers slightly below your knee cap. Starting with the index finger at the base of the knee cap locate the point at four finger-widths down from the base where your little finger will sit just to the outside of the shin bone. Apply moderate pressure for a few seconds daily. Note: You can do both knees at the same time.
Menstrual pain – Relieving menstrual cramps can be tough. Acupressure points can help reduce the pain in the lower back you might feel during that time of the month. There are a number of sacral acupressure points located on the base of the spine just above tailbone. To massage these points, lie on your back with your hands under the base of your spine. Place one hand on top of the other to apply steady and apply firm pressure to the points for a couple of minutes.
Arthritis and sciatica – The Commanding Middle acupressure point to reduce knee and back pain is located in the middle of the backside of the knee cap. A 2006 study published in the British Medical Journal found that acupressure may be more effective than physical therapy for relieving low back pain. Researchers also found that the effects of the therapy lasted for six months.
Concentration – Ever have one of those days where you just can’t seem to focus long enough to get anything done? The Bigger Rushing acupressure point may be just what you need. This point can help with memory and concentration, headaches, and tired eyes. It can also boost immune function, reduce fatigue, and help keep energy flowing smoothly. Locate this point on top of your foot right where the bones of the big and second toe come together. Press it gently for a couple of minutes and release. Repeat this 2 or 3 times a day for a few weeks.
Nausea and vomiting – Whether you are sick because of motion sickness, post-surgery, pregnancy, or even post-chemotherapy, the Pericardium acupressure point is a great one to hit. In addition to easing the discomfort of nausea, this point also helps with headaches, chest pain, and carpal tunnel syndrome. Find this point between the two large tendons on the inside of your wrist – three or four finger widths below the base of your palm. Press this point with your index and middle fingers for a couple of minutes and repeat several times as necessary. You can also purchase acupressure wristbands that work with this point.
A note of caution
Like any treatment, it is always best to check with your doctor before performing acupressure on yourself.