Many of us are familiar with the ancient Chinese art form of acupuncture, which involves the insertion of fine, sterile needles into the skin on acu-points. However the concept of acupressure may be a little unfamiliar, despite their similarities. Acupressure is an effective alternative to acupuncture, which stimulates the same acu-points through applied pressure. Acupressure improves the body’s function and promotes natural self-healing by stimulating specific anatomical sites – the acu-points.
Here are my top five pressure points (acu-points) and their meridians for healing.
Nei Guan; for nausea
Nei Guan point or the pericardium 6 (P6), located on both wrists have been scientifically shown to relieve symptoms of nausea and vomiting, motion sickness and morning sickness, anesthesia and chemotherapy, just to name a few. In order to locate your Nei Guan point, place three fingers horizontally from the base of your wrist. The Nei Guan point lies just below the third finger between the two main tendons (essentially in the middle). This doesn’t make sense the first few lines
Acupressure is leading the charge in providing a natural alternative to relieving the symptoms of nausea. Using Sea-Band’s acupressure wristbands as an example, they provide a safe, drug-free approach to nausea apply the traditional Chinese art form of acupressure. Sea-Band’s bands can be worn at the onset of symptoms, with results seen in a matter of minutes. The bands can also be used as a preventative tool, worn before the onset of symptoms.
He Gu (LI 4): for headaches and migraines
Commonly known as the “headache point,” He Gu or Large Intestine 4 (LI 4) is located on the back of the hand in the fleshy area between the thumb and index finger. If you hold your thumb and index fingers together, LI 4 can be found at the highest point of the bulge of the muscle in this location.
He Gu is one of the most powerful points in acupuncture. Stimulation of this point directs healing Qi (pronounced Chi), or energy, to the head and face. There is a saying in Chinese medicine, “Without movement there is pain, with movement there is no pain.” This expression explains how LI 4 eases pain. The Large Intestine channel is abundant in Qi and therefore points on this channel are ideal for moving the Qi. Combined with this point’s ability to affect the face and head we have the perfect point to treat headaches and migraines.
Shen Men: for anxiety and stress
Shen Men – translated to “heavenly gate” – is an acupressure point located on the ear. It is found at the apex of the triangular fossa (located at the top of the ear). The purpose of Shen Men is to tranquilize the mind and to facilitate a state of harmony and serenity. This master point alleviates stress, pain, tension, anxiety, depression, insomnia, restlessness and excessive sensitivity. Aside from easing our stress, the Shen Men was also one of the first points emphasized for the application of auricular acupuncture for the detoxification from addictive drugs and for the treatment of alcoholism and substance abuse.
Zu San Li (ST 36): for energy balance
The acu-point known as Stomach 36 (ST-36) and Zu San Li, is translated to mean “leg three miles”. The name refers to the ability of this point to greatly strengthen energy, so that a person can walk another three miles, even when they feel exhausted. This point increases endurance, digestive power, and stimulates the immune system. According to this classic’s this point is the foundation of our life energy (Qi), tonifying Qi and blood. Stimulation of this point affects the overall health of our entire body.
Clinical research has found that stimulating this point increases ‘Maximum Oxygen Uptake.’ Maximum Oxygen Uptake prevents and improves recovery time from diseases such as hypertension and diabetes. Maximum Oxygen Uptake is also known to decrease cancer rates. We may assume that the modern idea of maintaining health by increasing Maximum Oxygen Uptake is based on the same mechanism as our traditional wisdom for attaining longevity by stimulating ST 36.
Tian Shu (ST 25): for improved digestion
Even though this acu-point is located on the stomach meridian, it is where all the energy of the large intestine gathers and concentrates. The name for Stomach 25 (ST-25) is Tian Shu, which means “heaven’s pivot”. This acu-point is where the upper and lower gastrointestinal tract meet and relate to each other. Tian Shu is especially useful in alleviating constipation, diarrhoea, and any other kind of intestinal disorder. Stimulating Tian Shu also moves abdominal blood and can alleviate menstrual irregularities.
Place three fingers parallel and alongside the centre of the bellybutton. You’ll find the Tian Shu point at the edge of the last finger, away from the bellybutton.
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