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introduction to acupressure massage works

Introduction to DIY Acupressure Massage

According to Traditional Chinese Medicine, vital energy or qi (pronounced “chee”) circulates through meridians or channels in our bodies. Both acupressure and acupuncture stimulate specific points on these meridians - to remove blockages, balance and direct the flow of energy, and relieve pain in the corresponding parts of the body. While acupuncture uses fine needles, in acupressure we simply massage the points with our fingers – which has the big bonus that you can learn to do it yourself, in the comfort of your own home! 

Before you attempt this, it's essential that you know the correct technique.

How to apply acupressure?

Lady comfy on sofa with a mug.jpeg

Get comfortable

  • Self-acupressure massage can be done seated, lying down or standing, depending on which points you need to reach. 

  • Try to relax in a comfortable position, close your eyes and breathe deeply while stimulating the points.

  • Wearing loose, comfortable clothes makes it easier to access the points and allows the energy to flow more freely.

Finding the acupressure points


  • Refer to the pictures and instructions provided on each of the pages in this section. When you press firmly on the point, you may feel a kind of dull ache or tingling sensation, indicating that you’ve found the right spot. But don’t worry too much if you’re not sure – since the pads of our fingers and thumbs are much larger than acupuncture needles, and since the massage technique stimulates the surrounding area, acupressure allows more leeway in ensuring the points are covered.

Finding the acupressure points HT7 - HEART MERIDIAN 7 - Shen Men - Spirit Gate / Mind Door.png

Good to know

If you search for acupoints online, you will often find rather academic descriptions of their locations, using latin names for bones, tendons and so on, and referring to a mysterious measurement called “cun”. Used by trained acupuncturists to locate points, cun (pronounced “tsoon”) is a measurement relative to the patient’s body: generally one cun is defined as the width of a person's thumb at the knuckle. We prefer to use the more accessible measurements of finger/thumb/hand widths, along with plain English names for body parts, to help you locate the points – but if in doubt, always refer to the pictures, whether you are using our resources or others.

Massage technique

  • To stimulate the acupoints, go into them slowly but firmly with a finger or thumb, and massage them with a circular or up-and-down motion.

  • Remember the words “gentle but firm”. The pressure should be delicate enough not to leave a mark, but sufficiently firm for you to feel what I call “comfortable pain” (as opposed to “painful pain”!) – similar to what you might feel during a massage when sore spots and tight muscles start to release their tension.

  • Massage each point for at least 30 seconds to activate it, but don’t overdo it – generally 3 minutes should be the maximum for each point in a single session.

  • If you’d rather not be glancing at the clock, you can also count around 10-20 deep breaths per point – besides helping to time the massage, this will also help you relax and stay focused! Another alternative method is to count the number of circular or up-and-down motions as you massage, around 20-50 per point depending on your speed. Experiment and see which method suits you best.

  • Make sure you press from the middle of the thumb or finger pad, rather than the tip, to avoid digging your nail in and leaving a mark (see pictures)

  • Some people prefer to use a tool called an “acupressure pen”, which may range from a simple round-tipped metal implement to a high tech electronic gadget. Another very practical alternative, which you can probably find right there on your desk, is a pencil with a rubber (eraser) – simply use the rubber end to stimulate the points!

  • We provide descriptions of a number of points that can be used for each condition, but you may find that some work better than others for you. Experiment in the few sessions and see what effect you get from massaging each point –  once you’ve identified the ones which are most helpful to you, it’s fine to focus just on these.

  • Most of the points are actually pairs of points, since most of the meridians run symmetrically on both sides of the body. Some pairs of points can be massaged simultaneously, for example those on either side of the neck or back which can easily be reached using both thumbs. Others can be massaged in alternation – first left then right or vice versa.

acupressure massage technique - do
 acupressure massage technique - dont
acupressure pen



  • Repeat the massage as often as you like. For maximum benefit, it’s good to do it at least twice daily if you’re treating a chronic condition, but there is no upper or lower limit.

  • Be patient and consistent when practicing acupressure self-massage. Especially if you are dealing with stubborn symptoms, it may take time to clear energy blocks and achieve long-lasting healing results.

  • Besides formal sessions, you can also work on the more easily accessible acupoints at odd moments in the day: when you are sitting on the bus, watching TV, or taking 5 out from your computer screen.. any time your hands are free basically!

acupressure massage frequency - couple relaxing on sofa
acupressure massage for pregnant women


  • Don’t apply pressure to an open wound, broken skin, or swollen/inflamed areas.

  • Avoid areas with scar tissue, bruising, varicose veins, or any kind of skin lesions such as boils, blisters and rashes.

  • If your condition worsens, consult a medical professional ASAP.

  • If you are pregnant, DO NOT USE before 37 weeks+ of Pregnancy. Seek medical advice before trying acupressure and ensure to have a one-on-one session with us.  


Check out: Give Birth without Fear if you are looking for a Childbirth method that involves acupressure massage and gives

you tools to boost your confidence planning for your baby's birth.


  • Besides self-acupressure, you can also ask a friend or partner to help massage the points for you. If you’re both in need of treatment, try a massage exchange!

  • When locating the acupoints on another person’s body, remember that the measurements – such as x finger widths, a hand’s width etc. – refer to their finger/hand width, not yours (unless you are the same size!)

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