Little Life Hacks: Acupressure

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As we approach the winter season along with all the other happenings in the world, boosting immunity is important and accessible to everyone. In the lens of Traditional Chinese Medicine, qi (pronounced chi), assists the body in fighting off pathogens and building immunity. While many have heard and perhaps experienced acupuncture from a professional, acupressure relies on the same concept, yet you can do this on your own minus the needles. The beauty of acupressure is it is a supercharger that helps protect the body against harmful viruses and bacteria and provides a sense of balance internally.

Acupressure involves the application of pressure to varied points on the body using the fingertips. By gently massaging and pressing on certain points related to the energy channels (meridians) in the body, this new routine can be performed with ease almost anytime and anywhere. If you missed my previous blog on the meridian channels, please visit Little Life Hacks: A River Runs Through Us.  Simply find your point(s) and press/massage them for 30-45 seconds at least twice a day and you boost your immune system and other systems of the body (depending on the acupressure point).
Acupressure is a supercharger that helps protect the body against harmful viruses and bacteria and provides a sense of balance internally. Click To Tweet8 Acupoints for Immunity

• HT-7 (Heart-7) - This point is also called Shenmen. It’s located on the ulnar end of the transverse crease of the wrist. Basically, look at your right palm, see your pinky finger and trace your way up to wrist crease. It’s a wonderful point to assist with anxiousness, panic and heart palpations.

CV-17 (Conception Vessel-17) - This point is the “Sea of Tranquility” point and is located in the middle of the chest on the sternum around the 4th rib. It is directly over the thymus gland which houses and produces the T cells that are crucial for immunity. This area was and still is one of my favorites as it is part of the heart-energy center and helps deal with emotions. In a pandemic of uncertainty, a lot of tapping and pressing in this area helps with emotions, breathing and immunity.

• KI-27 (Kidney-27) - This kidney channel, also called Shu Fu, is found in the depression just below clavicle towards midline. This area helps calm the breath, improve lung function and has even been helpful to suppress couching.

• LI-4 (Large Intestine-4) - This acupoint is located between the index finger and thumb. The body tells us so much so these points might be tender. Tenderness represents stagnation where the energy isn’t flowing well. This point is helpful for headaches and promoting circulation for the neck, face and jaw. Please note that this is contraindicated during pregnancy.

• LI-11 (Large Intestine-11)  - This point can be found by flexing the elbow and lies in the depression at the lateral end. Follow the crease of the elbow and the point is located at the end of the crease (on the thumb side). I have used this site as a fever reducer and upregulate my immune system when I was coming down with something.

• LU-7 (Lung-7) - This point stimulates defensive qi. The way to find this point is join your two hands together with webbing of one thumb on top of the webbing on the other. Your index finger should be resting along the radius bone by wrist. This acupressure point is also very helpful to assist neck pain which I’ve found as an added bonus when working from home without great ergonomics.

• LV-3 (Liver-3) - The liver is involved in filtering so much that we’re exposed to in this world. This acupoint is located between the first and second toe in the webbing between the toes. This location is great to improve circulation, calm the nervous system and, of course, boost the immune system.

• ST-36 (Stomach-36) - This location is three fingers below kneecap and one finger width out. This point is the most studied in both the eastern and western worlds. It is associated with helping with digestion, improving blood flow and immunity. If you’re fatigued, this is a great location to stimulate to get that added boost. It’s also super helpful after large meals so keep this in mind as we move into the holidays.

I’ve included other acupressure points in the diagrams along with meridian abbreviations below so you can get familiar.

  • LU = Lung
  • LI = Large Intestine
  • ST = Stomach
  • SP = Spleen
  • HT = Heart
  • SI = Small Intestine
  • BL = Bladder
  • KI = Kidney
  • P = Pericardium
  • GB = Gallbladder
  • LV = Liver
  • CV = Conception Vessel
  • GV = Governing Vessel
  • TW = Triple Warmer, Tri-Heater, Triple Burner (this goes by a lot of names)

If you want a few key landmark points to assist with certain areas of the body, check out the ten below.

  • Face & head - LI-4
  • Neck - LU-7
  • Ear - TW-5
  • Shoulder - ST-38, ST-37
  • Scapula - SI-11
  • Increase energy - CV-6, ST-36
  • Nervous system - LV-3
  • Sympathetic Nervous System - GV20
  • Parasympathetic Nervous System - ST-36, SP-6
  • Lymphatics - LV-2

Acupuncture and acupressure have been part of my life for over 15 years. These modalities that focus on the energy channels of the body have helped me recover from an injury (more quickly I believe), prepare for surgery and maintain overall harmony.  The beauty of acupressure is it's needle-free, you don't have to wait for an appointment with a practitioner and you can administer yourself.  Give it a try yourself and let me know what you think.

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About Author

Celeste Cooper-Peel, ND, MA, MCHES, CWHC, E-RYT

Wellness Manager

Celeste has been in the science, health and wellness field over twenty-five years. She began as a research chemist with a concentration in genetics and nutritional biochemistry. After working in the medical field, she saw the need to follow a path of proactive wellness and prevention. After receiving her Masters in Health Education, she ventured into the mind/body world receiving training in Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction and Yoga. Shortly after, she received the 2003 Wellness in the Workplace Award for a large health system in the state of Virginia. In 2004, Celeste joined SAS Institute, Inc. and continues to be passionate in her position overseeing Wellness. She believes curiosity and collaboration bring insight and new ideas which bring out the best in everyone from team members to those who are making healthy lifestyle changes. Believing that the body knows how to heal if given the proper tools, Celeste earned certifications in Aromatherapy and Essential Oils, Classical Chinese Medicine and Homeopathic & Naturopathic Medicine. She earned her Doctor of Naturopathy degree in 2020. Celeste is a published author, wife and mother and practices what she preaches and teaches. She is a nationally recognized Master Certified Health Education Specialist (MCHES) and has advanced certificates in Integrative and Functional Nutrition, Genetics and Genomics. She is an Experienced Registered Yoga Teacher (E-RYT) with the National Yoga Alliance, Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) Instructor, Certified Wellness and Health Coach (CWHC) and Certified Yoga Therapist (CYT). Follow @ccooperpeel on Twitter and Instagram.

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