At Home Acupressure
Touching the body to feel better may be the first and oldest ancestor to healthcare. We instinctively touch areas that hurt and learn to self-soothe with touch from an early age. Acupressure is a refined form of this self-medicine based on the thousands year old system of acupuncture. It entails using stick on beads or seeds or finger pressure to stimulate the same points we use during an acupuncture session. Many people find that acupressure helps extend the benefits of their acupuncture sessions. It's also just a great resource for at-home self care.
Below are some very common acupoints. All acupoints have vast, complex uses and your practitioner has been studying them for years. What an acupuncture point "does" is effected by the other points used in a treatment as well as many other factors. Below are some simplified ways to uses these points at home for self-massage.
Acupoints for simple use
Gall Bladder 20 "Wind Pool" Located at the tender spots on either side of the spine, where the head meets the neck. Massage for neck tension, headaches, sinus pressure, stress and anxiety.
Kidney 3 "Great Canyon" Located level with and posterior to the mid-point of the inner ankle.
Kidney 6 "Shining Sea" Located just below the mid-point of the inner ankle.
Large Instestine 4 "Junction Valley" Located at the mid-point of the hand bone connected to the index finger, close to the bone on the thumb side. Massage for headaches, nasal congestion, general pain, constipation. Together with LV3, these points are known as the "Four Gates" and are the primary points for supporting circulation.
Large Intestine 11 "Pool at the Bend" Located at the end of the elbow cleft (when arm is bent). Massage for arm pain, opposite side knee pain, head pain.
Large Intestine 20 "Welcome Fragrance" Located just next to the nostril on either side. You'll know the point when you massage or press and feel your nasal passages open. Massage for stuffy nose, fatigue.
Liver 3 "Supreme Surge" Located between the bones that connect to the first and second toes, about mid-way. Massage for stress, general pain, PMS, headache, stuffy nose. Together with LI4, these points are known as the "Four Gates" and are the primary points for supporting circulation.
Lung 7 "Broken Sequence" Located about 1.5 inches above the wrist on the side of the arm. Massage for neck pain, stuffy nose, headache, insomnia.
Spleen 6 "Three Yin Intersection Located about three inches above the ankle on the inner leg. Massage for PMS, pain, upset stomach, fatigue.
Stomach 36 "Leg Three Miles" Located about three inches below the knee on the outer leg. Massage for digestive support, constipation, loose stools, fatigue.
POCA (People's Organization for Community Acupuncture) acupuncturists and students have put together a fantastic series of video tutorials on how to find acupoints and what they can help you with. From stomach and ear aches to menstrual cramps, allergies, constipation and more, these easy to follow tutorials are for everyone. Learn more about POCA.
Ear Seeds & Tacks
AT HOME CARE
Whether you are using ear seeds on your own, or supplementing your BAP treatments by having seeds or tacks placed by your BAP acupuncturist, ear seeds and tacks are a safe and excellent resource for wellness. They can remain in the ear for several days, gently stimulating your body's innate healing abilities. Ear tacks are teeny tiny needles that are applied to ear points. They are not available for home use but can be placed by a practitioner during an in-person treatment.
We have found most people to have no problem with seeds and tacks, however, remove them right away if they feel uncomfortable or itchy, or the skin around them appears red or irritated.
When applying ears seeds at home, clean the skin with soap and water or alcohol first. Do not apply to broken or irritated skin. If your skin is sensitive to band aid and similar adhesive, ear seeds & tacks may not be right for you.
HOW TO REMOVE EAR TACKS & SEEDS
With your fingers or tweezers peel the adhesive away from your skin. For tacks, carefully fold the edges inward (be careful not to poke your fingers), wrap in a tissue and discard in your garbage.
Can I place ear seeds on my body?
Yes! If your practitioner recommends it, you can place seeds on any point on the body.
Where can I buy them?
Make your own!
Ear seeds are traditionally made from the seeds of the vaccaria plant. They were chosen for this purpose because they are slightly acidic and cause a gentle stimulation to the acu-point. But practitioners have found over millennia that simple pressure is enough to stimulate a point. To make your own ear seeds at home you'll need band aids or medical tape and mustard, radish or similar seeds, or small crafting beads. Simply cut off a small piece of the sticky part of the band aid, place the seed or bead at the center and apply to your skin.
Breathing & Meditation
Relaxed, intentional breathing and meditation should be in everyone's self-care tool kit. They are free, can be done (almost) anywhere, and are effective. Meditation and breathing exercises don't have to be fancy or complicated though. Below are some simple techniques to calm your nervous system and get grounded.
Many prominent institutions have, and continue to investigate the effects and benefits of meditation and breathing exercises. The National Center for Integrative and Complementary Health has funded research on the effects of meditation on chronic pain in teens with fibromyalgia, stress reduction in people with multiple sclerosis, and reducing high blood pressure and chronic headaches in people with PTSD. Along with many other educational and research institutions, Stanford University has conducted studies on meditation and mindfulness and has numerous resources on the topic.
Meditation Archives (Stanford Center for Compassion And Altruism Research And Education)