In a culture where there’s a pill or procedure to fix just about anything, the idea of healing simply through touch seems strange. But when you think about it, we subconsciously use the principles of acupressure all the time. When you whack your funny bone, the first instinct you have is to touch the area that hurts.
This impulse is the true nature of acupressure, and there are multiple studies out there proving its effectiveness. Let’s explore some of the most effective ways people suggest we can use gentle pressure to heal the body. It’s important to mention that these pressure points should be observed with caution. Acupressure points can be used to safely navigate a wide range of ailments, but always consult a doctor before using them.
Number 10: Below the Clavicle
LU-1 or Lung 1, as its known, is said to connect strongly to the lungs, heart, spleen, and brain. Its located just under the clavicle.
Acupressurists consider it a collection point for all the energy of the lungs. That’s why its also called the ‘Central Treasury’, because it descends along whats known as the lung meridian. It’s clinical usages involve treating any ailments related to the chest and upper back.
You’ll hear a lot about ‘meridians’. In Chinese medicine, a meridian is a path through which ‘qi’ flows. These invisible pathways are basically like a road map. They’re said to connect every organ and cell in your body. It’s still an interesting idea even though no scientific evidence has been put forward for its existence.
Back to the clavicle pressure point now… It’s supposed to be particularly useful for removing phlegm from the respiratory system. Its also effective at treating conditions like colds and coughs. It reduces excess heat, coughing, or fullness in the chest, leading to greater respiratory function. To activate this spot, follow your clavicle to its upper most point next to your shoulders. From there, move about 3 cm straight beneath it. Gently massage it in an alternate direction with your middle fingers for around 2 minutes.
According to Chinese medicine, this point helps move lung energy down to the kidneys. This energy them gets dispersed through the body evenly, resulting in a healthier overall balance of Qi.
Number 9: Center of the Breastbone
This point is located in the center of your breastbone. Its known as the ‘Sea of Tranquility’. It helps you find an emotional balance by reducing stress.
This pressure point is deeply connected to your heart to help you self-soothe. Its scientifically regarded as CV-17, or Conception Vessel 17. Whilst applying pressure to this point, you should notice a release of stress, anxiety, fear, and depression as its supposed to give the immune system a boost. With all those calming effects, it’s no wonder this is the resting place of the thumbs in prayer position. Also, when something bad has happened, it’s usually your first instinct to react by putting your hands straight to this point. Its found right in the center of your breastbone, in the middle of your nipple-line. Applying your 3 fingers from the bottom of your breastbone also ensures you’re touching it. Gently apply pressure to it with you finger or knuckle for at least 2-3 minutes. You could also use the palms of your hands if you prefer.
In Chinese medicine, this point is believed to bring overall emotional balance. It stimulates the thymus gland which transforms negative feelings and opening the heart cavity. Thus it mitigates our natural responses to stress and anxiety, including increased heart rate and shallow breathing.
Number 8: Below the Belly-Button
Like a gentle massage for the digestive system, CV-6 or Conception Vessel 6, located just below your belly button. It reduces constipation and bloating while increasing sexual energy. Referred to as the ‘Sea of Energy’ this point can be accessed by positioning the forefinger along the line below the navel. Apply continuous pressure there for around 2 minutes.
As if a libido lift and decrease in gas weren’t enough, this point is also beneficial for weight loss. It’s deeply connected to our core and eliminates constipation. This point is profoundly empowering and encourages physical and mental healing. Several experts on acupressure recommend using this point to treat constipation instead of turning to conventional drugs.
Number 7: Top of the Foot
On the top of the foot where the bones of the big toe and second toe meet is the ‘Great Surge’. Its a point known for its powerful stress releasing abilities.
Existing along the liver meridian, LV-3, or Liver 3, keeps the body’s energy flowing smoothly. Using firm pressure, stimulate the area for 4-5 seconds before resting in the mental clarity it produces.
In addition to its supposed calming powers, Ancient Chinese texts state that this pressure point also promotes healthy liver functions, pacifies insomnia, minimizes PMS symptoms, and combats diabetes. It balances the liver meridian clearing the energy channels running up the body. This uplifting movement of Qi from the feet through the rest of the body explains the name ‘Great Surge.’
Several scientific studies using randomized trials even confirmed its capacity to manage depression and anxiety effectively. Though in all fairness, like other tests on acupressure, it’s unclear whether this was simply due to the placebo effect at work.
Number 6: Between the Thumb and Index Finger
One of the most important pressure points runs along the large intestine meridian, a.k.a the ‘Adjoining Valley’. Along it is LI-4, or Large Intestine 4 which is notorious for headache relief, but also relaxes muscle tension and regulates bowel functions.
To locate this point, squeeze your thumb and index finger together and notice the fleshy area that appears in the webbing.
Using your other hand, press this spot for 30 seconds to induce tranquility and welcome a digestive cleanse. This point pacifies headaches and anxiety by releasing endorphins, or ‘feel-good’ hormones. This makes it an attractive option for alleviating a lot of health issues as its said to improve your immune system, relieve pain, and reduce stress.
Chinese medicinal texts cite the LI-4 point being beneficial for delayed labor, headaches, constipation, and overall discomfort alleviation. Clinical analysis and controlled tests, including those carried out by the Journal of Orofacial Pain and Cochrane, say its effective for treating migraines and headaches.
Number 5: Elbow Crease
This point is used to ease digestion while calming any sensitivity in your arm, shoulder, or elbow. LI-11 or Large Intestine 11, located on the outer crease of the elbow, is part of the large intestine channel. It’s appropriately titled ‘Pool at the Bend’ based on its physical location along the meridian.
This path extends from the index finger, up the arm, into the shoulder and neck, ending in the nose. Activate this point by moving your index and middle fingers along the point in a counter-clockwise direction for about a minute on each side.
If you’re feeling heated, this point will help cool you down. Contact with this point soothes skin irritations, sweat problems, hot flashes, and other heat-related ailments.
The Journal of Acupuncture and Meridian Studies investigated the effect of manipulations on the LI-11 point on body temperature and blood flow. The results demonstrated that blood flow and body temperature both decreased significantly. This evidence corresponds accurately to the claims suggesting this point reduces heat-related illnesses.
Number 4: On the Sacrum
Several areas on the Urinary Bladder Meridian make up the Baliao points, located in conjunction at the base of the spine. Use your fingers to touch the four hollow spots on the sacrum and apply steady pressure there for a couple of minutes.
Sacral acupressure points are supposedly incredible for relaxing a woman’s uterus while calming symptoms of menstruation and lower back pain. Touching this area soothingly brings space and relief when it’s needed most by activating the bladder meridian. Its supposed to clear any blockages from the neck down to the sacrum.
Its been proven effective in reducing pain associated with labor in addition to treating genital and bladder issues. Still, its not advised during pregnancy as it can cause premature labor.
Number 3: Inner Forearm
Pacify insomnia while soothing nausea, headaches, and stomach pain by stimulating the Pericardium 6, or PC-6. Its also known as the ‘Inner Pass’ based on its location between the two large tendons on the inside of the wrist.
Use your index and middle fingers to press onto this point for 30 seconds, repeating on both sides until nausea subsides.
Activating this channel reduces nausea or vomiting caused by pregnancy, motion sickness, chemotherapy, and various other conditions. Those suffering from carpal tunnel syndrome in particular can experience comfort by massaging this area. Its also supposed to reduce insomnia and nervousness.
Several research studies have demonstrated this effectiveness of PC-6 stimulation in reducing nausea and vomiting. The Journal of Autonomic Neuroscience concluded that this point was efficient in maintaining healthy gastrointestinal movement. Another study found it helpful in relieving stubborn hiccups.
Number 2: Between the Eyebrows
Where the bridge of the nose meets the middle of the eyebrows lies a point along the Governing Vessel Meridian. Its known to alleviate symptoms related to headaches caused by eye strain or sinus pressure.
This pressure point was thought to be the beginning of a third eye. Its now often referred to as the ‘Pineal Gland’. The effectiveness of our real eyes negated the need for a third, so it supposedly became an area for hormone secretion. Lightly hold this area with the index and middle fingers for a few minutes to balance the energy of the body.
Pressing on the GV-20 point improves mental clarity, memory function, and spiritual wellbeing. Its also noted for easing headaches and hypertension. This area addresses excess yang within the body relating to low energy, dizziness, anxiety, and irritability. Anal, uterine, and vaginal prolapses, along with hemorrhoids, are also remedied by interacting with this point via acupressure.
In a scientific study about dental procedure anxiety, it was found that anxiety was reduced in patients who were treated through this point. Another randomized trial on the effect of this point and others, found it effective in treating chronic headaches than muscle relaxants.
Number 1: Above the Sacrum
These points placed on either side of the lower back just above the sacrum works along the Urinary Bladder Meridian. They regulate the flow of water in the body and promote overall well-being by stimulating and removing blockages along the kidney meridian. Applying firm pressure for several minutes at a time to this point.
According to traditional Chinese medical perspectives, UB-23 is valuable for all kidney system issues related to your bones, teeth, hair, brain, and hearing. It’s also useful for remedying sexual problems, ear infections, asthma, and back pain.
Its scientifically linked to premature aging and sexual dysfunction. This system inherently connects to the root of the body’s energy, making it highly influential over various psychological conditions. For this reason, disorders such as depression and anxiety respond favorably to the clearing of this channel as well.
And there you have it, 10 powerful acupressure points. Have any of these techniques worked for you?
Let me know what you thought in the comments section down below!