Acupressure therapy is an ancient and traditional form of holistic medicine that has been used by the Chinese for thousands of years. Also known as pressure acupuncture, acupressure therapy involves applying pressure to one of the 400 acupressure points that are situated along meridians or the energy pathways of the body to promote relaxation, relieve aches and pains and treat illnesses.
The body is home to 12 major meridians that act as channels that for vital energy flow. The energy, known as chi flows through these meridians, connect specific organs, and form a network and system of communication throughout the body. When any these channels are blocked or out of balance, the body and mind can become anxious, stressed, or sick.
Acupressure therapy can also be used for reducing muscle tension, improving circulation and stimulating chemicals in the brain known as endorphins, which act as natural pain relievers. To relieve pressure, aches and pains with the acupressure therapy, certain pressure points in the body need to be pressed for a few seconds or minutes and then released. While placing pressure on the acupressure points, taking slow, deep breaths help to relax the body and increase results.
Here are a few acupressure points for relieving aches and pains.
1. Joining the Valley (L 14)
Best For: Headaches
Precaution: This pressure point should not be used during pregnancy
The Joining the Valley (L 14) acupressure point, is located in the soft, fleshy area between the index finger and the thumb, at the highest point of the muscle where the end of the thumb and the first finger meet. The Joining the Valley (L 14) acupressure point helps to relieve headaches, neck pain, toothache, shoulder pain, constipation, and arthritis. Squeeze the pressure point with your thumbs and index fingers for a few seconds or minutes, depending on the level of pain and release. Repeat as needed.
2. Pericardium (P6)
Best For: Nausea and Vomiting
The Pericardium (P6) acupressure point is located about three finger-widths below the base of the palm, between the two tendons on the inside of the wrist. This pressure point is great for relieving nausea and vomiting caused by pregnancy, motion sickness, post-surgery after-effects and the side effects of chemotherapy. Placing pressure on the Pericardium (P6) acupressure point also helps to relieve headaches, upset stomachs, chest pain, and discomfort or pain caused by carpal tunnel syndrome. Squeeze the pressure point with your thumbs and index fingers for a few seconds or minutes, depending on the level of pain and release. Repeat as needed.
3. The Third Eye (GV24.5)
Best For: Chronic Fatigue and Eye Strain
The Third Eye acupressure point (GV24.5) is located directly between the eyebrows on the bridge of the nose, hence the name. Placing pressure on this pressure point helps to relieve stress, headaches, chronic fatigue, eye strain, and insomnia. It also contributes towards calming the mind, improving memory and balancing spiritual and emotional issues. Gently press the Third Eye acupressure point with the middle finger for up to a minute and release. Repeat as needed.
4. The Sea of Tranquillity / Conception Vessel 17 (CV 17)
Best For: Emotional Healing
The Sea of Tranquillity acupressure point is also known as the Conception Vessel 17 (CV 17) and is located in the middle of the breastbone. The point is about three inches above the base of the bone – it can be pressed by the knuckles of the thumb when the hands are in a prayer position. The Sea of Tranquillity acupressure point is used to relieve anxiety, depression, nervousness, hysteria and restore a sense of calm within the body and mind. It also helps boost the immune system. When using the pressure point, ensure the spine is straight and supported. Press the point for a few minutes every day while taking slow, deep breaths.
5. Leg Three Miles (ST 36)
Best For: Stomach Problems
The Leg Three Miles (ST 36) acupressure point is located about four finger-widths down from the base of the knee cap just outside of the shin bone. This acupressure point is used to relieve abdominal pain, indigestion, constipation, diarrhea, nausea and vomiting and is also used to other digestive disorders. Apply deep pressure to this point for a few seconds every day and can be used on both legs at the same time.