Try these DIY acupressure massage therapy for aches and pains
This is the first in an ongoing series that will help you alleviate various aches and pains with DIY acupressure massage therapy.
Katoka Massage Therapy knows that aches and pains can really take away from your abilities and overall happiness. In the world of COVID, outside relief is also harder to access. Don’t worry, we have you covered!
#1: How Can I Relieve Head, Neck and Shoulder Pain?
It’s two o’clock in the afternoon and it just dawns on you that you haven’t eaten lunch yet. You peel your eyes from your computer screen, roll your shoulders back and are reminded of how stiff your neck is from sitting all morning at your makeshift home desk. Sound familiar?
Millions of people are working from home in at least some capacity right now. On the other hand, you might just be getting back to the office and are finding your body is having a hard time adjusting to sitting for long periods of time. Working at a screen is the main trigger for neck and upper body aches, which can easily become an arch enemy.
Take matters into your own hands and try out some DIY acupressure massage for pain relief!
Where Did Acupressure Come From?
The practice of acupressure massage therapy is a form of traditional Chinese medicine that originated thousands of years ago. Practitioners of acupressure believe that you are filled with a vital life energy force known as chi or qi. This energy flows throughout your entire body between your skin and organs along pathways called meridians.
Chi regulates the harmony in your body by balancing Yin and Yang. Yang is a principle of heat and activity that governs the outer portions of the body. Its opposite, Yin, is a principle of coldness and passiveness that governs the inner potions of the body.
Acupressure massage therapy is used to raise or lower the Yin and Yang in various parts of your body to keep your energy balanced. When your chi is not balanced, your body is prone to blockage and illness. Over 2,000 acupoints have been identified to do just that.
These acupoints are even the same ones that are used in the practice of acupuncture. Acupressure, rather than using needles, apply deep pressure to stimulate these points and generate healing.
Acupressure massage therapy for neck, shoulder pains and headaches
How does neck tension cause headaches?
Ever wonder why complaints of neck tightness and shoulder tension also seem to include headaches, insomnia, dizziness or tinnitus? Very simply, because our body parts are all connected!
Good to Read: Headaches? Say No More.
The neck is a passageway for many veins and arteries that service a number of our body’s systems like the musculoskeletal, respiratory, and endocrine. This is exactly why you want to keep your shoulders and neck loose and tension free.
Here are four acupressure points that help relieve any muscle pain in your neck and shoulders, plus headaches:
LARGE INTESTINE MERIDIAN
Joining Valley 4 – Hegu
Located at the highest spot of the muscle when you bring your thumb and index finger together. Relax your fingers and grip this point with the thumb and index finger of your other hand. Apply firm pressure and massage. Clinically used for stress, facial pain, headaches, toothaches, and neck pain.
TRIPLE BURNER MERIDIAN (TRIPLE ENERGISER / TRIPLE WARMER / SAN JIAO)
Central Islet / Middle Islet or Zhongzhu – TB3
Located in the groove between the knuckles of your ring and pinkie finger. Place your thumb on the acupoint and apply strong pressure for about two minutes. Massaging this point helps temporal headaches, shoulder and neck tension, plus upper back pain. Practice this 2-3 times a day on each hand and you will get faster relief!
Shoulder Well or Jian Jing – GB21
Located by pinching the shoulder muscle with your thumb and middle finger on each side. Using your index finger or thumb, apply downward pressure to the top of the area. You should massage this point on both shoulders at the same time, applying pressure and then releasing it. This acupoint helps to relieve pain and stiffness in the neck and shoulders.
Wind Pool or Feng chi – GB20
Located where the neck muscles attach to the back of the skull by your ear bone. To locate, clasp your hands together with thumbs facing downward and grasp the back of your head. Feel for your ear muscle with each thumb and follow the grooves to where your neck muscles attach to the back of the skull. Apply pressure with your thumbs. Feng Chi acupressure is recommended when you have cold/flu symptoms, overall low energy or fatigue, migraine, or eye blurriness.
The below video from the UCLA Centre for East-West Medicine shows perfectly how to find each acupressure point with ease!
*If you are pregnant, always check first with your doctor before doing an acupressure massage therapy
Avoiding Neck and Shoulder Stiffness:
· Take note of the chair you always sit in. Is it comfortable? If not, it’s well worth it to invest in an ergonomic one!
· Still up straight with good posture
· Don’t stay seated for long periods of time. Get up and move around.
· Consider your sleeping position and find a comfortable pillow that compliments your sleep style
· Have a daily exercise routine to keep you active!
“Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.” -Howard Thurman
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