Acupressure and acupuncture have been practiced in Asia for thousands of years. By learning how to stimulate pressure points, you can relieve minor or moderate symptoms, and reduce the need for nonprescription drugs. Unlike most drugs, relief is usually immediate.
Don't use acupressure to replace standard emergency procedures or licensed medical treatment. If you are seriously injured or have persistent symptoms seek urgent medical treatment (call 911 in the U.S.)
Acupressure should not be used:
- As the only treatment for illness; if you are sick, see a doctor
- If you have a heart condition
- Just before or within 20 minutes after heavy exercise, a large meal, or bathing
- If the point in question is under a mole, wart, varicose vein, abrasion, bruise, cut, or any other break in the skin
- If you are pregnant, especially if more than 3 months
Acupressure is not appropriate as the only treatment for acute or chronic conditions. If needed, seek medical attention or emergency help. Some symptoms and conditions include cautions and warnings. For these symptoms, only use acupressure to supplement professional medical care, or when no professional medical care is available. Only try acupressure for these symptoms after seeking professional care and after using standard first aid and emergency techniques.
To stimulate an acupoint properly, you must apply deep probing pressure. Therefore, only apply pressure with:
Finger tip (or pinch)
Pencil Eraser (not the point)
You can browse pain areas or symptoms to get a list of acupoints to try. The figures and text give the approximate location of a point. Thumb widths and palm widths (the width across the four fingers, not including the thumb) shown in the diagrams refer to those of the person being treated. Explore the area with a deep probing pressure, until the exact point announces itself with a sharp twinge. It starts as a jolt, and after a moment becomes a numbing sensation, or a tingling radiating from the point. It can be quite a shock the first time, but sensitivity decreases with experience.
Apply pressure, breathe deeply, relax
When you have found the point, apply pressure for 15 to 30 seconds. Repeat using the same point on the other side of your body. You should feel immediate relief. You may feel a release of tension, sinus drainage or perspiration. You might belch or pass gas. Sometimes points on opposite sides of the body will have different effects. If symptoms increase, don't use that side or point.
What if first point doesn't help?
If the first point doesn't work, try the next point or points until you find one that does. There may be more than one approach to your symptoms, such as "kidneys" vs. "backache." When you find a point that helps, use that point. If the relief is temporary, re-stimulate the point. Sometimes a pain will go away and return three or four times, lesser each time.
Tips for effective use
Find a quiet place, sit or lay down, relax. Avoid loud music, exercise, food, drugs or alcohol while stimulating acupoints.
How Does It Work?
According to traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), the human body encloses an ongoing flow of bioenergy, or life-force, called "chi, "ki" or "qi." This life force consists of intertwined and interdependent properties known as "yin" and "yang," or female/male, dark/light, negative/positive, which imbue and influence everything around us in the natural world, and within us as well. Chi flows in and out of the body along pathways called "meridians," influencing the functioning of all the organs. When yin and yang are in balance, we are healthy. When the flow is disturbed or inharmonious, illness and pain result. Along the meridians are a large number of pressure points that act as "valves" for the flow of chi. Stimulating acupoints can help restore balance, relieving symptoms.