Acupressure is an ancient healing remedy originating in China, and today, many people still use acupressure to do everything from healing diseases to instilling peace and relaxation within the body. While acupuncture is a more widely used remedy in China, acupressure is basically the same thing without the use of needles. Traditional Chinese medicine states that every person possesses specific acupressure points throughout the body, lying along energy meridians.
They believe that one’s life force, or qi (ch’i), flows through these energy points, and acupressure can help stimulate them if they have fallen into dormancy. According to Chinese theory, twelve major meridians exist within the body, connecting major organs and helping to keep the body balanced. If one of these meridian points falls out of alignment, it can open the doors for disease and pain to enter the body.
Acupressure practitioners typically use their fingers, palms, or elbows to apply pressure to each of these points, gently massaging them in order to reawaken the energy present within the meridians. Many people go to an acupressure practitioner to relieve pain of some sort, so we will go over the top acupressure points for pain relief below.
Here are the top 10 acupressure points for pain relief:
1. Joining the Valley (L14)
Used to relieve headaches, this point is located on the fleshy part of your hand between the thumb and index finger. Massaging it gently for a few minutes at a time can also eliminate toothaches, neck and shoulder pain, arthritis pain, constipation, and hangovers. Make sure your hand is balled into a fist when you perform the massage, as you can access the acupressure point best this way.
2. Pericardium (P6)
Performing acupressure on this point on the inside of the wrist approximately three finger-widths below the base of the palm can greatly help with nausea and vomiting. People can feel nauseous for a variety of reasons, including pregnancy, motion sickness, post-surgery, or even just the flu. Press the point for a couple minutes with your index and middle fingers, and repeat as needed.
3. The Third Eye (GV24.5)
Many people feel pain and pressure here because we use our minds so much to complete tasks throughout the day, and this can result in a tight feeling in the middle of our head. Located right between the eyebrows, you will want to use your middle finger to gently press it for a few seconds to one minute. This will help relax your mind, relieve chronic stress and fatigue, improve memory and concentration, and alleviate eye strain.
4. Sea of Tranquility (CV17)
Located at the center of the breastbone, about four finger-widths above the base of the bone, massaging this point can help restore emotional balance and relieve one of anxiety and depression. Many nervous system imbalances can be corrected by performing acupressure on this point, and it can even boost the immune system. To do this exercise, you’ll want to make sure your spine is straight and upright. After you’re situated, take your palms together in a prayer position, and press your knuckles of your thumbs into your breastbone. Take slow, controlled breaths while doing this exercise.
5. Leg Three Miles (ST 36)
Located right below the knee cap just outside the shin bone, applying moderate to deep pressure to this point can improve digestive disorders such as constipation, bloating and nausea, as well as boost the immune system and ward off fatigue.
6. Commanding Middle (B 54)
This point is on the backside of the knee, and is great for relieving back and knee pain, as well as arthritis in the hips, back, and knees, and even sciatica pain. Some researchers have found that massaging this acupressure point can provide relief for up to six months, by simply massaging the point for one minute each day.
7. Sacral Points
You’ll find these points directly above the tailbone, at the base of the spine. Massaging them can help relieve menstrual cramps as well as lower back pain. Simply lie down on your back, put one hand on top of the other to increase the pressure, and massage the points above your tailbone for a few minutes at a time. Repeat as needed.
8. Shen Men
Located on the upper half of the ear above the apex of the triangular fossa, massaging this point can help eliminate addictions and restore balance to the nervous system. To perform acupressure here, simply take your index finger and apply it to the Shen Men, and put your thumb on the back of the ear. Massage using firm pressure.
9. Heavenly Pillar (B 10)
Located on the back of the neck on the prominent neck muscles approximately 1/2 inch above the spine, using acupressure here can greatly reduce insomnia and stress. It can also alleviate neck pain or strain, and help with severe headaches. If you have a stiff or sore neck, you will also reap the benefits of acupressure on this point. Use firm, steady strokes on these points in order to see the best results.
10. Bigger Rushing (LV 3)
Located on the top of the foot where the bones of the big toe and second toe meet, massaging this point can help increase memory and concentration. Press it gently for a couple of minutes, release, and repeat as needed.