Ate too much at Thanksgiving? Already digging into the Halloween candy? Not to suggest that you continue to overeat or eat junk, but don’t you wish there was something you could do to help improve your digestion? There is. Acupressure for better digestion is easy to learn and simple to do.
This is the first of a series of blogs I’m going to do on acupressure for simple health issues.
What is Acupressure?
First of all, let’s cover the basics about acupressure. It’s pressing on specific points on the body, stimulating the tissue underneath to treat health conditions or symptoms. You can use your fingertips, thumbs, or even something like a capped pen or Qtip. Choose something that is not going to pierce your skin. If you want that, then you’re looking for acupuncture and you’ll need to see a qualified professional like me!
Pressing on the points will elicit a sensation of a bit of tenderness or maybe even mild tingling or aching. If it’s painful or sharp, you’re pressing too hard–go easy on yourself! If you feel nothing, either you don’t quite have the correct point, you’re not pressing hard enough, or that point is not currently useful for you.
Press each point for 10-30 seconds, usually on both sides of the body, but one at a time.
Acupressure for Better Digestion
Stomach 36 (ST36)
If you’ve seen me in clinic, you’ve probably experienced this point, as it’s good for a wide range of health conditions. As you can see from the English name above, it’s the 36th point along the acupuncture Stomach channel. That’s a decent indicator that it’s a great acupressure point for improving digestion. Research has also found a connection between this point and digestive health. 1,2,3,4
ST36 is 4 fingerwidths below the bottom of your kneecap (patella), just to the outside (lateral side) of your shin bone (tibia).
Spleen 6 (SP6)
Another multi-use point, this one is also relatively easy to find, as it’s likely to feel tender when you press it. Actually, all the points should feel tender when you press them.
This point is 4 finger widths up from the tip of your medial ankle bone (malleolus), behind your shin bone (tibia).
Large Intestine 4 (LI4)
Often known for its ability to help relieve headaches, tooth pain, or other pain conditions of the head and face, it’s also helpful to treat pain in many places of the body. Additionally, as a point along the large intestine channel, you can use it for acupressure for better digestion, treating digestive pain and cramping, diarrhea, and constipation.
There are several ways to locate this point. One way is to squeeze your thumb close to the rest of your hand, and then locate the highest point in the muscle between the thumb and index finger. Press firmly and feel around until you find the spot that is tender.
Pericardium 6 (PC6)
This is one of the most widely researched and accepted points for use with both acupuncture and acupressure for better digestion, particularly for treating and preventing nausea, whether from pregnancy morning sickness, chemotherapy or other medication side effects, motion sickness, or illness. 1,2,3,4
You can either buy motion sickness bands, like those pictured below, or use your thumb or finger to apply pressure on this point.
Find this point on the inside of your forearm, 3 finger widths up from the crease of your wrist, between the two tendons that pop up when you flex your wrist or make a fist.
Beyond Acupressure for Better Digestion
This is simple advice for simple, acute (short-term) digestive issues. If you have chronic or serious digestive health problems, you don’t need to keep suffering! Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), including acupuncture, Chinese herbs, supplements, and food cures can be your solution. Ask me your digestive health questions.