Did you know you can push on pressure points on your body at home, and relieve things like nausea, headaches, anxiety, depression and even a sore throat? Our highly trained Los Angeles Massage Therapist Michael Canvin has been using the acupressure technique for over 20 years, and now he's sharing his wisdom with you! Read how to do an at-home acupressure massage to help you relax and heal...
Acupressure stems from ancient Chinese medicine, where it's believed that many energy lines run through our bodies, also known as meridians. These meridians run all the way from our fingertips to our brains and toes and connect to all our organs, enabling a system of communication. Through the meridians runs a vital energy, known as qi (chi). Like in Ayurveda, it's believed that when there are blockages or imbalances in our meridians, we get ill. Acupressure and the related technique acupuncture can relieve these blockages and imbalances.
Acupressure Massage Technique
All along the meridians in our bodies lie pressure points, which are often connected to organs. During an acupressure massage session, acupressure practitioners use their fingers, palms, elbows, feet or a device to target specific target points. They apply gentle, gradual, but steady pressure on the pressure points for about three minutes, until they sense a soft pulse under their finger. This pulse is called the therapeutic pulse. When practitioners feel this they know the blockage or imbalance has been relieved, and that they can move on to another point.
The Biggest Pressure Points & Their Acupressure Benefits
There are hundreds of pressure points along our body's meridians, but these are the ones most commonly targeted:
Large Intestine 4 Pressure Point (LI4)
Where to find it: In between your thumb and index finger. Helps with: headaches, sore throat, fever, lower back pain, and postopreative pain.
Liver 3 Pressure Point (LR-3)
Where to find it: In between your two biggest toes. Helps with: menstrual cramps, headaches, vision problems, shortness of breath, lower back pain and insomnia.
Spleen 6 Pressure Point (SP-6)
Where to find it: About three finger widths above your inner anklebone on the lower calf muscle. Helps with: abdominal pain, digestive problems, insomnia, dizziness, and pain in the lower back, knee, ankle and foot. This pressure point is a contraindication during pregnancy!
Stomach 36 Pressure Point (ST-36)
Where to find it: About a hand's length below your kneecap on the outside of your lower leg. Helps with: Almost any digestive issue imaginable, heartburn, nausea and hiccups. It also an invigorating effect on your body.
Pericardium 6 Pressure Point (PC-6)
Where to find it: in the groove between the two large tendons on the inside of your wrist, the ones that start at the bottom of your palm. Helps with: nausea after surgery and chemotherapy, from motion sickness and related to pregnancy.
How To Do Your Own Acupressure Massage
Choose a pressure point and then use prolonged finger pressure directly on that point. Do it in a steady and gradual way for about three minutes, and then move on to another point. Before starting on your own though, Spa Sophia's massage miracle worker Michael Canvin highly recommends to see an acupressure practitioner first.