The theory behind acupressure is that key points on your body link with your internal organs. Some of these acupressure points lie around your feet and fingers. Debate still exists over the medical effectiveness of acupressure, but there's little doubt that it's at least relaxing and might even relieve chronic pain. Consult your doctor before using acupressure as a sole treatment for any condition. It should be used alongside other medical interventions.
Many of the finger acupressure points are the easiest to use yourself without an experienced practitioner. For example, the Pericardium 9 acupressure point sits at the very tip of your middle finger. It's associated with the heart and chest. Pressing it aids in resuscitation and helps the tongue, based on acupressure tradition. A similar point lies just before the nail on the outside of the little finger. This is Small Intestine 1. It might help deal with trapped gas, encourage lactation and ease blocked intestinal passages, according to Acufinder.com.
Another key acupressure point on the fingers sits between the index finger and the thumb. This is known as Large Intestine 3. The exact point sits at the bottom of the webbing between the two digits, according to Marcia Degelman, CMT, at the Osher Center for Integrative Medicine. Using your other hand, squeeze gently to apply pressure up and toward your forefinger. This works on either hand. It's believed to relieve pain in the belly, teeth or head. Large Intestine 4 lies farther down toward the base of the thumb joint.
Acupressure on the feet often is referred to as reflexology, though the two are subtly different. It's more difficult to self-administer acupressure on the feet, so you might need your partner or an acupressure specialist to help out. Each foot represents a different side of the body and the corresponding organs found in that half. For example, the liver sits in the right side, so the pressure point is on the right foot, according to the University of Minnesota's Center for Spirituality & Healing and the Life Science Foundation.
Kidney and Liver Meridians
The kidney meridian lies on the sole of your left foot. It appears when you point your foot downward, as though pressing on a car pedal. If you follow the line between your big and second toes toward the center of the sole, the point is just below the base of the big toe joint. Pressing it should hurt a little, according to Yin Yang House. It's used for conditions such as night sweats, anxiety and insomnia. Another point on the top of the foot, but this time on the right side, is the liver meridian. The point is almost directly up from the kidney point on the sole, right between the tendons of the big and second toe. It targets headaches, stress, anger and menstrual pain.
Based near London, U.K., Peter Mitchell has been a journalist and copywriter for over eight years. Credits include stories for "The Guardian" and the BBC. Mitchell is an experienced player and coach for basketball and soccer teams, and has written articles on nutrition, health and fitness. He has a First Class Bachelor of Arts (Hons.) from Bristol University.