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Self administered reflexology and acupressure are great ways to provide quick discrete relief for a variety of pain and symptoms without having to wait for an appointment, further impeding your routine, or touching sensitive areas where you are experiencing pain.

Acupressure & reflexology

You’re right! Acupressure sounds a lot like Acupuncture. It actually works on the same principles without the intimidation factor. Replace the needles with fingers providing moderate pressure and that’s it!

Reflexology specifically is the use of therapeutic pressure massage in specific areas of our hands and feet to facilitate functional flow of energy, pain relief and optimal health. There are areas on our hands and feet called reflexes that correspond to specific areas of our bodies and even organ systems within our bodies. Often in areas that we feel pain there is a blockage of energy preventing health and wellness.

Below are combined approaches of these two practices that you can use, at home or on the go.

Headaches & Migraines

Valley of Harmony

The tips of all four fingers, especially focusing on the area at the base of the fingernails, can help relieve head pain. Focus on the index finder (positivemed) and the webbing between thumb and index finger, often referred to as the Valley of Harmony (as shown).

Sinus Pressure & Pain

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With your palm facing you, bring your thumb to the pad of your finger (the part that touches keys when typing) and forefinger to the opposite side close to your cuticle. Squeeze and hold the tip of each finger 1-3 minutes with comfortably firm pressure. Lightly massage the area when done. Repeat on all fingers.

For relief from symptoms of sinus pain, headache, dizziness, pressure, stuffy nose, and congestion. Have a tissue handy.

Neck Pain/Tension

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Massage the middle part of each of your fingers between your furthest knuckle toward the base of your finger. Do this for each finger on each hand. Look at your hand and think of the tips of your fingers as your head, and as your work down your fingers you are working your neck and shoulders. Use a professional reflexology chart for reference if needed.

Stomach Upset

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Massage and warm up the whole thumb, as this responds to the stomach and spleen meridians. You can also apply direct pressure to hold in the center of your palm.

Cold/Sore Throat

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Warm up and massage the whole thumb. Extended pressure may be used on the meaty part of the web of your hand. Also apply specific pressure to the thumb on the tissue to the inside by the nail, as shown.

Fatigue

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Lightly massage the whole hand, followed by direct pressure of the point on your middle finger just below and on the side of your nail on the side closest toward the index finger.

Menstrual Cramps/Abdominal Pain

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Lightly massage the whole hand, followed by direct pressure on the point on your index finger just below and on the side of your nail on the side closest toward the thumb. The second location for direct pressure is a point on your pinky just away from the nail on the cuticle line toward the outside (away from the rest of your fingers).

Additional tips

1. General area warm-up:

RELAX. Then start by rubbing your hands together for a minute to increase the energy and sensitivity of your hands. Next, use the fingers and thumb of your opposite hand to gently massage and warm-up the skin and general area to be worked on.

2. Area of focus:

In the area of interest to work use your opposite thumb & fingers to provide comfortably firm pressure. (Caution: this area may be sensitive.) Hold the area for 1-5 minutes and repeat 1-5 times as needed, or daily for prevention.

*For more tender areas: Hold for 3-5 seconds. While maintaining pressure begin to slowly massage in small clockwise circles up to five times, then give the area a small break. This massaging should be moving the tissue, not merely rubbing the skin. Provide firm but comfortable pressure again for up to a minute then give the area a break. Repeat this process up to five times.

3. Stay hydrated

This is probably one of the most recommended and underutilized tips from massage therapists and bodyworkers, and it cannot be stated enough. Proper hydration allows for optimal tissue health, quality circulation, and to help facilitate the elimination of toxins released into the bloodstream post massage and otherwise. After all, our bodies are made up mostly of water.

Precaution

*If you are pregnant there are areas that can assist in stimulating uterine contractions, and unless in labor and supervised by a professional MT or doula, should be avoided. During pregnancy avoid deep pressure to the web of the hand. 

Featured photo credit: Healthy Food House via healthyfoodhouse.com

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