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Acupressure 101: The Main Pressure Points and How to Use Them

Acupressure 101: The Main Pressure Points and How to Use Them

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Accpuressure is all about just that—pressure. Specifically, pressure points. Each pressure point targets a specific location on your body, and manipulating them with pressure can work wonders on your aches and pains. From headaches to back pain and sinus congestion, you can relieve dozens of common ailments with just a bit of accupressure. In this guide, we will look at all of the main pressure points, the parts of the body they cover, and how to use them—both on yourself and on others.

How Acupressure Works

In acupressure, you compress key energy points on the skin’s surface with your fingers to stimulate your body’s natural healing abilities. It can be used equally well on yourself or on others. Different kinds of pressure on the pressure points achieves different results, but the most common type of acupressure application is firm, prolonged pressure, from 1 to 3 minutes. You locate a point; sink in gradually with your finger, thumb, heel, or side of your hand; and hold it for at least 1 minute to calm and relax the nervous system. The depth to which you sink into a point should be enough to cause your partner to perceive it as a “good hurt”—a bit tender but so it feels as if it’s doing some good.

Breathing

It’s important that both you and your partner breathe fully and deeply during the application of acupressure. Your partner’s deep breathing allows the points to release pain and tension and promote the flow of healing energy throughout the body. Your partner will feel her ability to regulate the steady amount of pressure you’re exerting with your finger, as the pressure increases on her inhalations and decreases with her exhalations, regardless of where on the body you are pressing. Your deep and steady breath will not only help keep you focused and centered on what you’re doing, but will also remind your partner to maintain a steady breathing pattern.

Precautions

Now let’s get hands-on with some acupressure points.

Sea of Vitality

These four points, two on each side of the spine, are right below the last rib (about ½ to 1 inch above the waist line), two finger widths and four finger widths away from the spine. These points are useful for relieving lower back pain.

These four Sea of Vitality pressure points can be used to relieve lower back pain. These four Sea of Vitality pressure points can be used to relieve lower back pain.

These four Sea of Vitality pressure points can be used to relieve lower back pain.

Third Eye, Gallbladder 2, and Heavenly Pillar

The Third Eye point is in the indentation at the bridge of the nose between the eyebrows. This is a useful point for relieving anxiety, stress, chronic fatigue, and headaches.

The Third Eye acupressure point.

The Third Eye acupressure point.

The Gallbladder 2 is a fingertip-size point where the top of the ear joins side of the face and is useful for alleviating headache pain, especially vascular headaches and migraines.

The Gallbladder 2 pressure point can be used to help with headache pain.

The Gallbladder 2 pressure point can be used to help with headache pain.

The Heavenly Pillar is a pair of points one finger width below the base of the skull on the prominent neck muscles about ½ inch out from the spine. These points are helpful for relieving stress, overexhaustion, insomnia, headaches, eyestrain, and stiff neck.

The Heavenly Pillar pressure points are on the neck.

The Heavenly Pillar pressure points are on the neck.

Sea of Tranquility

This point is three finger widths from the bottom of the breastbone (sternum). It’s helpful in the relief of tension in the chest, anxiety, nervousness, and depression.

The Sea of Tranquility acupressure point.

The Sea of Tranquility acupressure point.

Shoulder Well

This point is on the highest part of the shoulder, slightly closer to the neck than midway between the base of the neck and the outer point of the shoulder. It relieves anxiety, fatigue, shoulder tension, and headaches.

The Shoulder Well point is on top of the shoulder.

The Shoulder Well point is on top of the shoulder.

Letting Go

This point is about four finger widths up from the armpit crease and about one finger width inward on the outer part of the chest. It relieves congestion, coughing, shallow breathing, chest tension, and depression.

The Letting Go point is lower down on the front of the shoulder.

The Letting Go point is lower down on the front of the shoulder.

Supporting Mountain

At the bottom of the prominent calf muscle, about halfway between the knee crease and the heel, is where the Supporting Mountain point is located. If you glide your fingers up the back of the lower leg from the heel, your fingers will generally slow or stop right at this point.

It’s useful for relieving calf cramping, foot swelling, and knee pain. In some individuals, it may also help relieve lower back pain.

You will find the Supporting Mountain point on the back of the calf.

You will find the Supporting Mountain point on the back of the calf.

Sacral Points

These points are all over the sacrum in its indentations between the lower back and the tailbone. These points are useful for relief of menstrual cramps and frequently help lower back and hip pain as well.

Pressing the Sacral Points can ease menstrual cramps, as well as lower back and hip pain.

Pressing the Sacral Points can ease menstrual cramps, as well as lower back and hip pain.

Drilling Bamboo, Welcoming Perfume, and Facial Beauty

The Drilling Bamboo points are in the indentation of the inner eye socket just below the middle point of the eyebrows. They relieve sinus pain and congestion and eyestrain.

The Drilling Bamboo pressure points.

The Drilling Bamboo pressure points.

The Welcoming Perfume points are just to the sides of the nostrils, by the nasal crease. These points are good for sinus congestion and pain.

The Welcoming Perfume points.

The Welcoming Perfume points.

The Facial Beauty points lie directly below the pupils of the eyes as your partner is looking straight ahead, just under the edge of the cheekbone. These points help sinus pain and congestion, as well as eye fatigue.

The Facial Beauty points.

The Facial Beauty points.

Intermediary

These points are four finger widths up the middle of the underside of the arm from the wrist crease. They relieve and in some cases prevent upset stomach, nausea, and vomiting. They are especially good for preventing motion sickness, and you can even find elastic bands with little knobs to wear on your wrists when you’re going to be in a situation that may cause you to have motion sickness.

Now that you know about pressure points, it’s time to start relieving some of those aches and pains. Acupressure is the cure for what ails you!

From The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Massage Illustrated by Victoria Jordan Stone, CMT, and Bob Shell