Ask any acupressure practitioner, and they’ll tell you the body is marked by points that encourage natural healing when stimulated properly. For more than 5,000 years, acupressure has been used to combat illness, support healing in chronic conditions and give the body energy. But the best part about acupressure is you can practice it on yourself to bring great healing to your life.
What is acupressure?
Acupressure was developed as a therapy used in Traditional Chinese Medicine and involves direct pressure to specific points on the body. Each point is aligned along an energy channel, called a meridian. By activating these points, you can improve blood flow and open parts of the body so that “qi,” or energy, can flow freely.
If you’re new to acupressure, we recommend you visit a practitioner to discuss your unique health condition and needs. They can help identify the best acupressure points for your body and can answer any questions you might have. Once you’ve been given the all-clear, try these eight acupressure points out to help relieve some of the most common ailments.
1. Spirit Gate point for insomnia and anxiety
There’s a small point on your inner wrist where the heart 7, or “Spirit Gate” point is located. When looking at your hand, this point is located on your inner wrist where it meets the base of your hand on the pinky side. Pressing this point is said to relieve insomnia, anxiety and even heart palpitations.
2. Great Surge point to reduce cramps and tension
Located on the top of your foot about an inch and a half from where your toes meet your foot, the liver 3, or “Great Surge” point rests between the first and second metatarsal bones — the bones that connect to your toes in your feet. Pressing this point is said to help with hypertension, depression and PMS symptoms. The liver 2 point — between the first and second toe on the top of the foot — combined with the liver 3 point can also help reduce tension headaches.
3. Great Rushing point to relieve emotional stress
When looking at the bottom of your foot, you’ll notice a point about two inches below where the second and third toes meet. This space is where the ball of your foot and the arch meet, known as the kidney 1, or “Great Rushing” point. Pressing here can help relieve emotional stress, as well as anxiety and insomnia. No wonder a foot massage feels so relaxing.
4. Leg Three Miles point for gastrointestinal issues
Stomach 36, or “Leg Three Miles” point is located in the notch right below the knee, between the patella and tibia. This point is said to boost the immune system and help treat gastrointestinal issues including GERD, abdominal pain, constipation, vomiting and diarrhea.
5. Union Valley point for a headache and fever
Located on the hand between the thumb and first finger, the large intestine 4, or “Union Valley” point can help resolve any problem affecting the face or head. This includes issues with the mouth, teeth, jaw, allergies, hay fever, headache and it may even help reduce fever when you’re sick. If you are pregnant, however, shy away from this point as it can also promote labor.
6. Celestial Gathering to relieve back and neck pain
The small intestine 11, or “Celestial Gathering” point is located in the middle of the left and right scapula on the front side of your shoulder. Pressing this point may relieve pain in the shoulders, neck and back. Acupressure practitioners also use it to resolve breast problems including insufficient lactation for nursing mothers, inflammation of the breast and breast pain.
7. Three Yin Intersection for sexual dysfunction and anxiety
Just a couple of inches above the ankle bone on the outside of your leg is spleen 6, or “Three Yin Intersection.” This point aids both gynecological and male sexual issues and may help to shorten a difficult labor experience. It’s also used to treat dizziness, hypertension, palpitations, insomnia and other anxiety issues.
8. Central Treasury for relieving depression
The point of soft tissue where your arm meets your chest is called lung 1, or “Central Treasury.” When pressed, this point helps you breathe deeper as it balances the emotions. It’s a great point to help relieve stress and depression.
Whether you want to boost your immunity or get rid of that nagging tension headache, acupressure is a great way to promote wellness without taking medication.
Have you ever used acupressure to help with a health issue? Let us know in the comments!
— Megan Winkler