In TCM, a harmonious balance of the complementary extremes of Yin and Yang of the life force, known as Qi, is required for good health. Qi flows throughout the body along pathways known as meridians. Located along these meridians are acupuncture points (acupoints) where the Qi rises to the surface of the body. These specific points, when stimulated, will influence the organs that they are associated with.
Acupoints can be used on a wide range of disorders, the most common being pain-related such as arthritis, back, neck, knee and shoulder pain, carpel tunnel and sciatica (pain in the back, hip and leg due to compression of a spinal nerve). Other conditions include sinusitis, poor eyesight, irritable bowel syndrome, constipation, abdominal bloating, painful menstruation, anxiety, insomnia and obesity.
Everyone can benefit from this traditional knowledge. Here’s how you can massage your way to better health anywhere, anytime.
DIY Massage: 6 Acupoints to try
- FENG CHI (风池)
Glide with a palpating finger along the lower border of the back of the head, crossing the bulge of the origin of the trapezius muscle, until you reach a depression the size of a finger pad. For headache and sore neck.
- BAI HUI (百会)
Rest the tips of your thumbs at the uppermost point of your ears, as you reach your middle fingers up to touch one another, at the crown of your head. For headache, dizziness, anxiety and insomnia.
- ZU SAN LI (足三里)
Located four finger widths down from the bottom of your kneecap and one thumb width to the outside of the shin bone. For indigestion, bloating and to strengthen digestive organs.
- HE GU (合谷)
The highest spot of the muscle when the thumb and index fingers are brought close together. For headache, toothache and abdominal discomfort.
- TAI YANG (太阳)
Located at the tender depression in the temple area. For headache and tired eyes.
- NEI GUAN (内关)
Three finger breadths below the wrist on the inner forearm in between the two tendons. For abdominal discomfort, palpitations and insomnia.
PRESS IT RIGHT
- Apply prolonged finger pressure directly on the acupoint. Do not massage or rub the entire area. For greater intensity, you can use your knuckles, a pen (with rounded tip) or a golf ball.
- Apply slow, firm pressure on the acupoint. It is important to apply and release finger pressure gradually to promote energy flow.
- If you feel pain in another part of your body while holding down an acupoint, it indicates that those areas could be related. You should press the points in these related areas as well.
- Take long, slow and deep breaths and focus your thoughts on the acupoint that you are working on. Hold on for a few minutes until the soreness at the point decreases, then gradually release the pressure.
- Work on 2–3 acupoints each time, each acupoint for 3–5 minutes. Apply pressure for 15–20 seconds, release for 5 seconds and continue. Treat yourself to 2 or 3 sessions of acupressure every week.