Acupressure Treatment Philosophy
Use acupressure to see immediate results with your clients. I like self-help treatment techniques that people can learn to treat their own ailments. Acupressure techniques impress clients with their effectiveness and simplicity of use. Plus, do not underestimate the “cool factor” of pressing a point on the arm or leg and watching the effect upon the head, neck and back.
The acupressure man you see illustrated by artist Patrick McRae contains some of the most effective acupressure points I have found in my 30-plus years as a physical therapist. It has taken decades to cull out which points you might find most useful. I have learned much about acupuncture through instruction in China, study of acupuncture texts and through discussions with acupuncturists. Acupuncture doctor Sean Tsang revealed an important acupressure point to me for headache and neck pain relief called Spleen 8.
Yes, I know that the names of these acupressure points take some getting used to. The Spleen meridian starts on the big toe, traverses up the inner leg and proceeds its endpoint in the armpit area. Does the spleen have anything to do with the effects of the points found on this meridian? I am not qualified to say. However, Sean Tsang showed me how Spleen 8 helps neck stiffness and headaches that result from tight neck muscles. Indeed, the Spleen 8 points can immediately increase neck turning. Not only does your headache get better, you can drive easier when you can turn your neck!
The Triple Heater points I shared last week also increase neck turning but do not seem to reduce headaches. However, the Triple Heater points do relieve shoulder blade strain more effectively than the Spleen 8 point.
How Do I Apply Pressure to this Spleen 8 Point?
First, check your neck turning to the right to get a baseline on your turning limitation. Secondly, cross your right leg over your left to find the point in your right calf. The right calf point can increase right neck turning, and the left calf point increases left rotation of the neck. Sometimes there is a crossover effect from right to left with acupressure points, but Spleen 8 benefits on one side are not as likely to cross over to the other.
Next, find the point in the inner calf about one quarter of the way down the calf bone. Your fingers can wrap around your shin bone to position your hand. Use your thumb to find the point in the fleshy part of your upper calf.
Finally, make a circular movement around the sharp point with your thumb. Spleen 8 is the most tender point in the upper inner calf area. You won’t have any question if you are on it.
Ease up pressure on this tender point but do not take your thumb off it. Hold the Spleen 8 point with medium pressure for 60 seconds. Your thumb may feel a gentle throbbing from the point if you have a perceptive sense of touch. Put your leg down and turn your neck. If successful, you will turn your neck farther. Just in the last several weeks, after receiving the pressure to Spleen 8, one client exclaimed, “This is crazy!!! How does that work???”
Try using firmer pressure for 15 seconds if the softer one-minute hold did not change anything. Abandon the attempt if you use firmer pressure and still do not see any change. You are either on the wrong point or it is not going to work for you. The point works in most clients I use it with to increase neck rotation.
Does Acupressure Pose any Risks?
Acupressure techniques are generally safe. Check with your doctor before you use them. Do not use them if either you or your clients are on blood thinning medication. Avoid using the points on varicose veins. I do not use the points on younger people under 18 years old.
Finally, avoid acupressure on pregnant women! Be especially careful about some points. The Spleen 6 point, for instance, is just above the ankle bone. Spleen 6 is used to facilitate the process of labor and delivery. You do not want to produce a premature labor and delivery event! Acupressure and acupressure in many cases seem to relax their target muscles. Pregnancy is one of those occasions you do not want early muscle relaxation to happen!
-You understand that if not done properly, some techniques and exercises described in this blog could harm you. Any activities you perform are at your own risk, and you expressly agree to waive any claims against the author for any harm that may arise from your own actions. By reading this blog and conducting these exercises, you accept this risk. This blog provides content related to physical and/or mental health issues. As such, your use of techniques described acts as your acceptance of this disclaimer. Consult Chapter 2 in my book, “Calming the Headache Storm” to make sure the headache is not the sign of a more serious problem. The techniques, advice and strategies contained in this blog may not be suitable for every individual and should be abandoned if your headache increases. Seek the advice of your physician.