by #BlogHer20 Health Speaker Jill Blakeway
For thousands of years, people have been stimulating acupuncture points to restore balance in the body. Still, it wasn’t until recently that scientists began to ask if the points themselves are noticeably different to other areas of the body. And the answer is, yes, they are.
A 2014 study, published in the Journal of Electron Spectroscopy and Related Phenomena, used CT scan imaging to show that acupuncture points have a higher number of small blood vessels that curl inward or bifurcate around large, thicker blood vessels. Additionally, these points and the acupuncture channels have been identified in other experiments using MRIs, infrared imaging, LCD thermal photography, and ultrasound.
A trained acupuncturist would use these points as part of a complete treatment, using a variety of locations to address the patient’s whole symptom pattern. But you don’t have to be an acupuncturist to massage these areas in a technique known as acupressure, which will generate and transmit energy through the body.
I’ve picked three points that affect different areas of the body and can be used to address stress, and the effect tension has on our whole body. So if you are feeling like a pressure cooker and need to let off steam, these are the places to rub.
LARGE INTESTINE 4
If you look at the back of your hand and press your thumb of that same hand into the side of your hand, you’ll notice that a crease emerges. At the end of that crease is a bulge. Press your opposite thumb into the muscle at the highest point of the bulge. Press towards the hand. Roll around until you find a sensitive area. Hold this, with steady pressure, for a few minutes or until the sensitivity decreases. You can use this point for any problems in the head and neck, headache, or neck and shoulder tension.
Slide your hand from the outside of your kneecap downwards along the outer boundary of your shinbone. As you slide your hand down the bone, you will find a little hollow about four finger widths from the bottom of your kneecap. Massage this area, with steady pressure, for a few minutes or until the sensitivity decreases. The Chinese name for this point is Zu San Li, which is often translated as “three-leg-mile.” In ancient times, Chinese soldiers were encouraged to rub this point to help them march an extra three miles. You can use it to generate energy, too, as well as for tension in the abdomen and digestive problems.
Reach down to your inner ankle and find the bone that sticks out (it’s called the medial malleolus). Slide your finger three fingers’ breadth up from the center of the medial malleolus and find an area that feels like a hollow or sensitive spot. Massage this area, with steady pressure, for a few minutes or until the sensitivity decreases. You can use this point for any discomfort in the lower abdomen, including menstrual cramps, gas, or digestive cramping. It also helps with tight muscles in the legs and sore feet.
By massaging these three points, you will be giving your whole body a tune-up, from the top of your head to the tips of your toes. These points are sore on most people, and as you rub them the soreness will dissipate, and you should feel less pent up
Want more? Check out our blog posts that support self-care for your body and mind including Five Ways to Start a Daily Meditation Practice and Why Boredom Can Be Your Best Friend – And How to Turn It into Creativity.
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We are so excited to be joining forces with traditional Chinese medicine nutritionist & chef @zoeyxinyigong who creates the most beautiful dishes, all rooted in Chinese medicine. Join us next Tuesday (April 7th) @ 3 pm on IG live as @jillblakeway and Zoey cook together and explain the ingredients from a Chinese medicine perspective. All photos courtesy of @zoeyxinyigong Wild enoki foraged by @sgbeepat
ABOUT JILL BLAKEWAY
Jill Blakeway is a Doctor of Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine (DACM), a licensed and board-certified acupuncturist (LAc), and clinical herbalist who has been practicing energy healing for over 20 years. Jill founded the Yinova Center in NYC in 1999 and currently acts as Clinic Director alongside her husband, Noah Rubinstein. Yinova currently has three locations, Flatiron, Brooklyn Heights and recently opened East Side. As a practitioner, she is known for her intuitive approach to Chinese medicine and particularly for her skills as an acupuncturist and energy healer.
Jill co-authored the bestselling book, Making Babies: A Proven 3-Month Program for Maximum Fertility about how to conceive naturally. She also authored a second book about women’s sexual health called Sex Again: Recharging Your Libido. Jill’s recently published third book Energy Medicine: The Science and Mystery of Healing describes what it means, personally and scientifically, to be an energy healer and draws on cutting edge research to explain how acupuncture and energy medicine work. Jill traveled the world for 2 years interviewing and apprenticing with top scientists and energy healers to explain the science behind energy healing and how we can use it in our own lives to heal illness, and live fuller, longer lives.