Health

DIY Acupressure For Common Aches & Pains

Acupressure is great because everybody can do it once they know the correct points. It’s like acupuncture but we use our fingers instead of sticking needles… Darren Ryding - December 27, 2023

Acupressure is great because everybody can do it once they know the correct points. It’s like acupuncture but we use our fingers instead of sticking needles into our bodies. Acupressure originates from Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). This holistic practice is also an excellent way to induce DIY relief from various aches and discomforts.

Let’s look at some common acupressure methods to ease common problems across the body. We’re looking at everything from basic headaches to pregnancy relief. Acupuncture is safe, even if it doesn’t work, because it’s essentially a focused massage. The idea is to release energy blockages and ease mild pain.

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Headaches

Everybody experiences headaches in various forms whether it be tension or migraines. Several pressure points may help to relieve this pain. First, there’s GB-20 (Fengchi) at the base of the skull above the neck. Anybody can use this point to ease hypertension as well as wind conditions.

The DIY method involves applying gentle pressure to the area and pressing it for 30 seconds. Don’t hold it too strong because that can be counterproductive. Then release and softly massage before repeating several times. This is a good one to ask a friend or family member to help with too (via Phoenix Rises Acupuncture).

 

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Stomach Pain

One of the weird aspects of acupressure is that the key points may be nowhere near the affected area. Take stomach pain as a perfect example. The DIY method to induce relief from gastrointestinal discomfort is to massage ST-36. This point is about four fingers below the base of the kneecap.

It also shows how the body connects in ways that we don’t typically consider. After locating the point, massage with light, focused pressure for a couple of minutes. Experts advise a circular motion with the thumb or even rubbing up and down. It’s essential not to release until finishing the acupressure process (via Mend Acupuncture).

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Stress

Stress feels like a heavy, unshakeable weight pressing down on our minds. Fortunately, some DIY methods may potentially alleviate it. Pressure point HT7 is also known as Shenmen or ‘Spirit Gate.’ There’s a good reason for this because it can help to positively influence the mind.

Spirit Gate is located on the crease linking the hand to the wrist on the little finger’s side. Firmly massage this area with a thumb for a minute or two before releasing. Novices may find it surprising that a stress-relieving acupressure point is on the hand. This shows the many interconnections that run through us (via Form Recovery).

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Labor Pains

Any woman who has experienced childbirth will confirm that it’s the most painful thing they’ve ever gone through. Acupressure may help to slightly ease this agony. Experts recommend applying pressure to primary stimulation points. These include the shoulders, lower back, and sacrum area.

Another benefit of acupressure during labor is that it can give the birth partner a role to play. They may share solidarity with the mother and attempt to ease their suffering. However, it’s important not to annoy the mother and to get out of the way if they don’t want it (via UCI Health).

 

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Congested Sinuses

Stuffy noses and congested sinuses can happen in any climate not just winter. Anybody who has sat for too long in front of an air conditioner will agree. Nasal sprays are brilliant but maybe they’re not always available. Luckily, some great DIY acupressure points can help to reduce these symptoms.

Most experts recommend massaging LI20 to ease congestion. This point is just inside the groove of the nostril and is easy to locate. Another useful point is LI19 between the nostril and upper lip. Rubbing this area firmly will produce similar benefits but it also affects jaw problems (via Medical News Today).

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Lower Back Pain

Anybody dealing with lower back pain knows that it’s no joke. It’s generally irritating and uncomfortable but can even affect sleep quality. That’s why most people want to alleviate it as quickly as possible. Acupressure is a useful way to do this through DIY methods (via Physio Tattva).

Points B-23 and B-47 are the two most effective ones to use for lower back pain. They are between the second and third vertebrae above the waistline. Take a deep breath before applying even pressure to these points. Then exhale to increase the pressure before releasing after reaching the pain threshold. Repeat this several times.

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Anxiety

Anxiety is different from stress because it is persistent long-term worries. It’s a heavy and exhausting burden that impacts people’s overall quality of life. The good news is that one of the most effective acupressure points can help to reduce anxiety. We’re talking about the Hall of Impression or the ‘Yintang’ point.

It’s very easy to access this point between the eyebrows. The DIY method is to gently rub this area in a circular motion for a couple of minutes. It has the potential to provide amazing relief and stimulate the mind. This is something that everybody can benefit from (via Best Health Acupuncture).

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Piles/Hemorrhoids

Nobody wants to deal with hemorrhoids because they’re painful and embarrassing. That’s why it’s great that some DIY methods exist to treat them without going to a doctor. However, it is important to do it in the right way because incorrect pressure, and create pain or even enlarge the hemorrhoid.

Point UB57 is also known as Cheng Shan amongst TCM aficionados. Find it in the middle of the lower leg and apply pressure for several seconds. Experts advise stimulating it at least twice a day to maximize results. This point connects to the urinary bladder and improves overall circulation (via Pristyn Care).

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Ear Aches

Many acupressure points can help to relieve earaches. First, it’s key to identify what is the root cause of the earache. It may be a sinus infection or an allergy but let’s focus on the former. The Third Eye is one of the best pressure points to manipulate in this case. This is also called Yin Tang or Hall of Impression Point as we’ve mentioned.

Massage this area to promote sinus drainage which will alleviate the ear ache. It’s easy to find because it’s above the nose and between the eyes. We’ve already mentioned this pressure point earlier when we discussed anxiety. Rubbing the Third Eye is one of the most effective DIY solutions for common aches and pains (via Healthline).

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Wrist Pain

There are many forms of wrist pain including sprains, strains, and general stiffness. People don’t realize how difficult it is to cope with this issue because it affects so many things. Carrying a shopping bag or driving a car will be difficult with a sore wrist. This is where acupressure enters the conversation.

Rubbing the PC 6 pressure point can be an effective way to reduce wrist pain and carpal tunnel syndrome. This point is about three finger widths away from the wrist and is simple to access. This is also useful for dealing with other issues including insomnia as well as nausea (via My Doctor).

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Ankle Pain

There are many potential causes of ankle pain including arthritis or sprains. The BL60 or Kunlun point is one of the best to deal with muscle tension. This is something that many runners may face so it’s worth being aware of. It’s just above the Achilles tendon so DIY acupressure is easy (via Copperjoint).

K13 is another great point that helps reduce ankle swelling as well as potential stiffness. Find it easily between the heel and the inner ankle. Experts recommend using the palm to massage this surface area. There are several more pressure points that we can use for ankle injuries so we recommend more research.

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Vertigo

This is a common ailment that afflicts 40 percent of U.S. adults at least once in their lives. A smaller minority of people experience this regularly so it’s important to try to find ways to deal with it. Try rubbing the TW17 pressure point because it can have direct results (via Align WC).

These points are behind the earlobes on both sides of the head. It may be slightly painful but it is effective. Maintain consistent pressure for one or two minutes before stopping. DIY acupressure is possible here but a friend can do it too. Don’t press too hard because it may be very sore.

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Hand/Finger Numbness

There’s a DIY acupressure technique available for almost every minor ailment. Hand and finger numbness is something that millions of people unexpectedly deal with every day. Maybe they’re working hard in the gym or doing something as innocuous as office work. Simple tasks can cause surprising injuries if we’re not careful.

The Outer Gate point (TB5) is one of the best to ease hand numbness. It’s about three finger widths beneath the wrist crease on the outside of the arm. Apply pressure with the thumb and firmly massage. Furthermore, for maximum results, simultaneously rub the PC6 point on the opposite side of the arm (via Katoka Massage Therapy)!

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Knee Pain

Any runner will say that knee pain is the bane of their existence. That constant, repetitive impact on hard surfaces can cause problems and affect their progress. ST36 is one of the most useful pressure points to ease knee pains because it’s easy to access. Find it about four finger widths beneath the kneecap.

Many experts recommend using a tennis ball to increase the pressure. This is also useful for other points that may be more difficult to perform DIY acupressure. Shift the body weight for a gentler or stronger touch. Acupressure is an excellent practice for athletes to be aware of (via My Doctor).

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Shoulder Pain

Nobody wants to deal with shoulder pain because it’s amazing how many things it will impact. From carrying shopping bags to dealing with little children, it’s not going to be easy. But shoulder pain is a common ailment that many people silently deal with. Here’s a DIY method to ease it using acupressure.

The name may be surprising but the Small Intestine Channel directly impacts the shoulders. The SI3 point is above the hand’s first knuckle. Stimulate this area by rubbing it firmly to send energy through the channel and across the shoulders. This is an excellent piece of knowledge from TCM (via Hexa Health).

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Coughing

Coughs are frustrating and even painful if we allow them to continue for too long. Most people think that there’s not much we can do until they go away. But acupressure can help to provide cough relief. However, remember to consult a doctor if symptoms don’t improve after a week.

Kidney 27 is a pressure point below the collarbone. Find it halfway between the nipple and the body’s midline. It’s excellent for helping to boost overall body immunity but it’s also great for focusing on the chest. Lung 7 on the wrist is another useful point for DIY acupressure for easing colds and coughs (via Fort Myers Community Acupuncture).

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Water Retention

Many older people suffer water retention and swelling in their feet or legs. Fortunately, there’s an entire branch of Traditional Chinese Medicine devoted to ‘damp-removing.’ SP9 is one of the most useful pressure points for water retention in the lower body (via Katoka Massage Therapy).

This point is below the knee on the inside of the leg. Another effective acupressure point is the Three Yin Intersection or SP6 above the ankle. However, TCM experts warn that pregnant women shouldn’t touch this because it can induce labor. We’ll talk more about that later!

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Constipation Relief

Some doctors say that DIY acupressure can provide constipation relief. Generally, these techniques offer stimulation to the affected parts of the body which is very beneficial in this case. Anybody who has ever suffered constipation will agree that they are desperate to induce bowel movements.

Instead of guzzling cartons of orange juice, try massing SJ6 instead. Also known as ‘Branching Ditch’ this point is on the outside of the arm. Locate it about three finger widths from the wrist crease before pressing it firmly with the thumb in a circular motion (via Healthline).

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Neck Pain

These days increasing numbers of people are sitting in front of computers every day. It’s not a surprise that neck pain is on the rise because they’re under constant strain. Try exercising the neck by moving around in half circles and from side to side. DIY acupressure is another way to provide pain relief.

Stimulate GB20 at the base of the skull. Press upward with both thumbs and maintain pressure for a couple of minutes. Make circles or rub up and down while pushing inwards. Don’t forget to breathe because this will also aid the pain release. Remember, it may require regular practice to be effective (via Flow Point Acupuncture).

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Acidity

When our stomachs produce too much acid it can cause acid reflux. Nobody wants to experience that after they’ve eaten a nice meal during the holidays. Some people accept it as normal because it always happens to them. But there are some simple DIY acupressure methods to reduce acidity.

We’ve already mentioned LI4 but one of its benefits is targeting abdominal pain. It helps to enhance the intestine’s functions and to ensure that everything is working correctly. REN-12 at the center of the abdomen is another excellent pressure point to help reduce acid reflux (via Balance Charleston).

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Eye Pain

Many experience eye pain or strain because they endure too much screen time. Maybe they’ve been outdoors for too long in the sun or have cataracts. Eye problems can be serious and cause more issues. Consult a doctor if they’re very bad but there are some DIY methods to address minor eye pains (via Style Craze).

The Zan Zhou point can help to ease eye pain as well as other issues. These include dryness as well as headaches. Find it at the inner corners of the eyes and massage gently. Take more care than with other pressure points because it’s a delicate region. There are several points around the eyes but they’re not all suitable for DIY acupressure.

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Upper Back Pain

We’ve already addressed lower back pain but what about the upper back? It won’t surprise anybody to learn that different pressure points impact this region of the body. GB21 is one of the most effective acupressure points to ease neck pain and alleviate shoulder tension.

However, TCM experts insist that pregnant women shouldn’t stimulate this point because it may induce early childbirth. This point is at the upper trapezium so it’s in the shoulder area. While it’s possible to do DIY acupressure it may be easier to ask somebody to help (via Gramercy Pain Center).

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Fatigue

Everybody feels tired at some point during the day. But what happens if we’re in the middle of a lecture or a meeting and can’t grab a coffee? That’s where DIY acupressure is our friend because it can save the day. Some simple and subtle points may provide an instant dose of energy (via Body Active Health).

Locate S36 about three finger widths below the kneecap. According to Traditional Chinese Medicine, this point connects to the stomach channel and can help to boost energy. It also has the added benefit of reportedly increasing immunity. There’s plenty to gain by performing acupressure in this area.

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Induce Sleep

What about when people suffer from insomnia or struggle to fall asleep because of their unsettled surroundings? Many business people have sleep problems because they’re spending too much time in hotels. Different pressure points may help depending on the root cause of the sleep difficulties.

Experts recommend stimulating point LV3 if struggling with stress-induced insomnia. KD3 is another useful point above the ankle. This one helps adults with hypertension who can’t sleep properly. Identify the cause before engaging in acupressure because it may not work properly (via Medical News Today).

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Inducing Labor

This remains controversial but many people believe that DIY acupressure can help to induce labor. Medical experts maintain that more research is necessary in this field. However, advocates insist that it works and say that pressure point LI4 is one of the most effective. This is between the index finger and the thumb.

Furthermore, SP6 is another point that may help to stimulate labor. This one is above the ankle on the inside of the leg. Researchers have clinically examined several other points and concluded that they don’t work. But the jury is still out on the ones that we’ve mentioned (via WebMD).

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