Acupressure is a healing technique similar to acupuncture but applied with fingers, thumbs and pencil erasers instead of needles. It is far more approachable than acupuncture for self-treatment. There are eleven points along the lung meridian, all located on the arms and hands.
For each acupressure point, use prolonged pressure for one to three minutes, beginning lightly and pressing more deeply as your body allows. There should be no pain, but tenderness is expected.
Lung 1, or LU 1, is about an inch below the clavicle next to the shoulder at the top of the pectoral muscle. Pressure on this often tender spot treats asthma, coughs and breathing problems. It can open the lungs, making breathing fuller and more satisfying.
This point is also associated with relief from feelings of emptiness and is used to treat shoulder and upper-back tension. While pressure is being applied, inhale and exhale slowly.
This point, also known as LU 3, is located between the shoulder muscle and the bicep muscle on the outer arm. It is used in acupressure to relieve coughs, asthma and other lung problems. It is also used in the treatment of grief, loss and emptiness.
LU 5 is located at the outer elbow crease. It is used to treat several ailments local to the arm and elbow but is also associated with lung health and may be pressed to relieve phlegm-heat excess, which is related to coughs, asthma, rapid pulse and troublesome breathing.
The indentation above the knobby inner wrist is home to LU 7, another point along the lung meridian. Find it by wiggling the right thumb back and forth while pressing the left thumb on the inner right wrist. LU 7 is located on the bone between the two tendons you feel.
This spot is used with a sequence of other pressure points — LU 11 and LU 5 — to treat asthma. As part of a sequence, pressure is applied at the thumb, wrist and crook of the arm.
Find LU 11, the final point along the lung meridian, by extending your arm and making the thumbs-up sign with your right hand. The point is located at the cuticle on the left side of the thumb. To press it, use a pencil eraser and hold for up to three minutes, increasing pressure slowly. This point is used to treat laryngitis, asthma and sore throat.
Leigha Butler is co-owner of The Yoga House in Kingston, N.Y., where she teaches Vinyasa and Ashtanga-based yoga classes and workshops. Her teaching emphasizes anatomical alignment, individual modifications and hands-on adjustments. She is also a lecturer in college English, specializing in literature of the environment. Butler holds a Master of Arts in English from University of Nevada, Reno.