Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) includes many points on the hands that can be massaged to support healing from common health conditions, including: headaches, fevers, neck and back pain, among others. You can massage these points on your own hands or massage the points on someone else’s hands.
These healing points are also called acupoints. Numerous scientific studies have shown the existence of these acupoints, which are located along invisible energy lines that connect to various organs and systems in the body. When pressed or massage, these points can induce therapeutic functions that are specific to each point.
There are many benefits of using hand acupressure, some of which include:
- It has a 5000-year old history of successful use;
- It is free;
- It is easy to do;
- It can be done anywhere; and
- There are no harmful side-effects. Certain points are best avoided by pregnant women (LI 4 is an example).
To help you get started, I’ve included three important hand acupoints that are commonly used for pain, headaches, fevers, heart problems, and more.
The Great Eliminator
Located on the top of the hand at the highest point of the fleshy mound that connects the thumb and forefinger, you’ll find the acupoint known as Large Intestine 4 (LI4) or “The Great Eliminator.” One of the most important points in acupressure, it is used to treat pain, headaches and fevers when this point is firmly pressed.
You can massage this point or firmly hold it. It may take a minute or two to notice improvements, or it can take up to 10 minutes (sometimes longer). I use this point to take down a fever that is excessive and it works every time. Avoid using this point if you are pregnant. Of course, you should always consult a physician for high fevers and unusual or ongoing pain.
Heart 9 is located on the inside (the side facing the ring finger) of the little finger at the edge of the nail. It is used to address chest pain, heart palpitations, migraines, and heart problems. You can press or massage this point for a few minutes every day to aid in the treatment of these conditions. And, as always, consult a medical doctor for any health issue.
There is an acupoint located on the outside edge of the hand, just below the base of the little finger called “Back Stream” after its ability to help alleviate back pain and stiffness. Also known as Small Intestine 3 (SI 3), this point that is used to address a stiff neck, lower back pain, headaches and neck pain. It is also used by health practitioners to aid the treatment of eye, ear, and mood disorders. Press or massage this point firmly on a daily basis or throughout the day to help reduce pain.
It may take time and consistent use of these points when dealing with chronic health concerns. It always amazes me when such simple things like hand massage and acupressure improves health issues.
Adapted with permission from the upcoming book, Arthritis-Proof: The Drug-Free Way to Beat Pain and Inflammation by Michelle Schoffro Cook, PhD.
Michelle Schoffro Cook, MSc, PhD, RNCP, ROHP