Patients with neuropathy experience chronic pain and tingling, and acupressure may provide some relief. Neuropathy results from nerve damage associated with a traumatic accident, infection, metabolic disorder, such as diabetes or exposure to toxins. Acupressure is a type of massage that targets strategic points which may give you pain relief. Discuss your symptoms with your doctor before trying acupressure, which is not a substitute for medical treatment.
Symptoms of neuropathy frequently affect the hands and feet, and include unusual sensations, such as heat or tingling, over-sensitivity and burning or stabbing pain. Acupressure may help with neuropathy, according to MayoClinic.com, which recommends massage to improve circulation, and acupuncture to relieve pain. Acupressure stimulates the same points as acupuncture, but uses finger pressure instead of needles. Search the location of an acupressure point until you feel a small indentation or tender spot, then apply steady pressure with your thumb or index finger. Press tender areas gently and avoid causing pain.
A 2009 study published in the "Journal for Complementary and Alternative Medicine" tracked the effects of acupressure therapy for complications of type 2 diabetes, including neuropathy. After three years, nerve conduction improved in the patients receiving acupressure, suggesting that acupressure mitigates neuropathy complications in diabetics. Acupressure may reduce the severity of neuropathy, though more research is necessary to fully understand the benefits of acupressure.
Points for Feet
Choose acupressure points on your lower legs and feet for neuropathy affecting these regions. Try pressure point K6 to relieve heel and ankle pain. Find K6 a thumb-width below your ankle bone on the inside of your leg. Search for the indentation in that area, then press steadily with your thumb for one or two minutes. Find B62 in a hollow between your outer ankle bone and the bottom of your heel, about 1/3 of the way down. Press B62 gently for 10 seconds, then release and repeat five to 10 times. Points GB30, GB34, GB39 and SP6 may also help with lower limb neuropathy.
Points for Hands
Press Lu10 by applying pressure to the center of your thumb pad on the palm side of your hand. Find LI4 by pressing your thumb and index finger together. Press the thumb of the opposite hand into the highest point on the bulge in the webbing between the thumb and forefinger. You may also try the Baxie points, SJ5, LI11 and LI15 for neuropathy in your upper limbs. Consult a certified acupressure therapist or acupuncturist to learn the best points for your specific symptoms.
- MayoClinic.com; Peripheral Neuropathy; November 2009
- "The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine"; Acupressure Therapy Inhibits the Development of Diabetic Complications in Chinese Patients with Type 2 Diabetes; Ke-Ke Jin, M.D., et al.; 2009
- "Acupressure's Potent Points"; Michael Reed Gach;1990
- Acufinder; Treating Peripheral Neuropathy with Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine; Diane Joswick, L.Ac.
Kristin Dorman has been writing since 1999 and has had work featured in "The Stylus," the University of Maryland's literary journal. She is a certified yoga instructor and teaches a "Yoga for Runners" course through community education. Dorman holds a Bachelor of Arts in studio art and art history from the University of Maryland, where she graduated with university and departmental honors.