What is Acupressure and How Can We Use it on Our Feet?
In alternative medicine, acupressure is a Chinese medical practice in which certain acupressure points that lie along meridians, or channels, in the body are massaged firmly. The idea is unblocking these meridian points in the body improves the flow of one’s “Chi” or life force energy as well as improve one’s overall health by relieving symptoms associated with foot pain.
Using your fingers and your thumbs you can apply pressure to these meridian points to help relieve physical pain and soothe muscular tension in the body. Additionally, acupressure is thought to increase blood flow, boost the immune system, reduce inflammation and develop spirituality.
Now let’s discuss where in the foot can we use acupressure to improve our overall health.
Three popular acupressure points on and near the foot are as follows:
Great Rushing or Liver 3 (LV3) point. Here you will want to locate the webbing between your big toe and second toe and press firmly for 2 minutes. Applying pressure to the LV3 point is used to combat stress, lower back pain, insomnia, and even menstrual cramps.
Grandfather/Grandson or Spleen 4 (SP4) point. This pressure point is located three finger widths behind the base of your big toe, on the inside side of your foot. Applying pressure to this point is used to aid in relief of indigestion, abdominal cramps, stomach aches, and anxiety.
Three Yin Crossing or Spleen 6 (SP6) point. This point is located three to four finger-widths above the inner ankle bone along the back of the lower leg. Stimulating this point on both the legs alternately helps in reducing lower leg and ankle pain, knee pain, lower back pain, treating gynecological problems like PMS, painful or irregular menstruation, insomnia, dizziness and helps in stress reduction.
Administering acupressure on my feet and my reflections on the experience:
When using acupressure techniques on yourself, you will want to be sure your nails are trimmed to avoid any pain while applying pressure. You can administer 1-minute sessions throughout the day; however, you should cease immediately if you are in any pain. Also, you should not self-administer acupressure while pregnant or if you have diabetes check with a doctor first. Now let’s get started.
Administering acupressure to the LV3 point:
In a sitting position I started with applying steady pressure to the LV3 point on both my feet at the same time. Please reference photo for placement of my fingers. I then applied steady pressure and set a timer for 1 minute and administered 3 sessions with a 15 second pause between sessions.
Reflections on the exercise:
It felt slightly uncomfortable at first as I applied pressure to the area. I did not reduce pressure and noticed it started to feel kind of good. I noticed I felt a sensation in my left leg in response to the pressure. It felt as though my leg muscle was connected in some way to the LV3 point. I did not get the same feeling in the right leg.
Upon completion of the sessions, I felt an overall sense of calmness. My feet felt pretty much the same as before. I did massage my left leg a little and decided to move on to the next acupressure point.
Administering acupressure to the SP4 point:
In the same sitting position as before, I relaxed my knees a little more and let my foot turn on its side in a resting position. Please reference photo for placement of my thumb to the SP4 point area. I did the same for the opposite foot. I then proceeded to administer three 1-minute sessions with 15 second breaks in between. I was sure to keep the pressure firm and steady. During the session, I massaged in a circular motion a few times. It felt great to do so. I was sure to keep the pressure steady though.
Reflections on the exercise:
I especially enjoyed the feeling I got from administering the sessions to the SP4 points of my feet. I continued to feel the overall calmness and my feet felt more relaxed at the end of this exercise.
Administering acupressure to the SP6 point:
Again, in a sitting position, I located the point by placing my hand just above my ankle. I measured four finger widths above the inner ankle bone and applied pressure to the SP6 location. I did not apply pressure to the bone but rather just below. Please see photo of location of the SP6 point.
Reflections on the exercise:
I found this area to be a bit more sensitive to pressure than the other two points. I didn’t enjoy this session as much as I did the SP4 session. I will attempt this session again the next time I am menstruating as this point is said to relieve symptoms associated with Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS).
Final Thoughts on Acupressure of The Foot
Overall, the foot acupressure sessions were quite nice. I felt an immediate sense of anti-anxiety and anti-stress. The overall sense of well-being is worth the few short minutes it takes to administer the sessions. I think the foot acupressure sessions would pair well with a mediation session. Going forward, I will apply the use of these techniques to address headache, insomnia, and PMS and write a follow up piece on the effectiveness of the foot acupressure sessions. Until next time, take care of your feet!
**It is advisable to consult a health-care professional such as a doctor or podiatrist before taking action based on any information found on our website. Our goal is to provide information and educate others on a number of issues relating to foot health, not give medical instruction.
Derek Roach is a foot health specialist and has worked in the foot health industry for over 10 years. He is knowledge in various foot conditions and shoe features to help with those conditions. Also, he has been quoted on CNN, The Penny Hoarder, HuffPost, Dapper Confidential and other popular publications for foot and shoe-related topics.