Acupuncture is an ancient form of healing method in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) that involves inserting needles into particular points on the body’s surface or acupoints. Scary as it may sound or look to some people, its effects are undeniably magical and fast but yet, scientific. In TCM terminology, acupuncture heals through stimulating acupoints found on the human body, clearing qi and blood stagnations in the meridians and at the same time, balancing the yin and yang of the body. Scientifically speaking, acupuncture relieves pain, reduces inflammation and restores homeostasis. In fact all diseases involve a disturbance of homeostasis, and nearly all diseases involve some degree of pain and inflammation. Therefore, one can say that acupuncture has the ability to treat all diseases and ailments faster and without the side effects of medications. Furthermore, acupuncture can be administered on a long term basis for health maintenance and disease prevention.
Apart from needling, there are many other ways that can bring about stimulations of acupoints, such as using the thumb or index finger to press and massage the points or perform striking actions on the points, otherwise known as acupressure. Modern medical studies have confirmed that such stimulations of acupoints can promote the body’s secretion of endorphins which is a natural tranquilizer in the human body, bringing about great sedation and relaxation effects. Regular acupressure self-massage can effectively promote blood circulation and slow down the aging of cells, hence invigorating the body at the same time.
Urban society white-collar workers are the elite pool of manpower but are also the ones that face more serious health issues. Reason being this group of workers spend long hours working in front of computers and are under immense daily work stress, making them more susceptible to occupational ailments such as cervical spondylosis, visual fatigue, chronic neck, back, wrist pains etc. As such, some methods and acupoints are introduced in this article to teach one to conduct a TCM acupressure self-massage as a form of prevention of these occupational ailments.
Hitting/Massaging Hou Xi Acupoint
Location of Acupoint: Making a loose fist, the point is on the ulnar side of the palm at the end of the transverse crease, close to the fifth joint between the palm and small finger.
Technique: With both palms facing up, hit the ulnar sides of the palms against each other for 50 to 100 times. Otherwise, with one palm facing the chest, massage the Hou Xi acupoint with the thumb of the other hand for 2-3 minutes. Switch and repeat the massage for the other hand.
Benefits: People who spend long hours writing or typing on computers will often find themselves having sore shoulders and necks, which may ultimately result in chronic neck pain or strains and cervical spondylosis if left unaddressed. Hou Xi acupoint is found along the meridian that links the neck, shoulder and fingers, thus hitting Hou Xi acupoint can help to relax and relieve soreness in the neck muscles. Frequent stimulation of this acupoint can help prevent acute neck sprain/strain, growth of cervical bone spurs and cervical degeneration.
Massaging Cheng Qi Acupoint
Location of Acupoint: With the eyes looking straight ahead, the acupoint is vertically under the pupil, below the eyeball and above the lower border of the orbit.
Technique: Use the index fingers of both hands to lightly massage the acupoints near both eyes in a clockwise or anticlockwise direction simultaneously for 10 minutes after working at the computer for 1 to 2 hours.
Benefits: Daily long hours of looking at the computer screen can result in overuse of the eyes and can expose one to heighten light stimulation and radiation. This can in turn lead to health issues such as blurred vision, dry eyes, dizziness, etc. Through frequent massages of Cheng Qi acupoint, it can help to increase qi and blood nourishment to the eyes, thus bringing about relief to the tired eyes, decrease chances of having eye diseases and even improve eyesight in the long term.
Hitting/Massaging Lao Gong Acupoint
Location of Acupoint: At the centre of the palm, between the 2nd and 3rd metacarpal bones, and in the part touching the tip of the middle finger when a fist is made.
Technique: With one hand making a fist, the acupoint which is located at the centre of the palm is hit with the fisted hand at an intensity where the area of the acupoint feels lightly sore. Repeat for 36 times. Otherwise, with one palm facing up, massage the Lao Gong acupoint with the thumb of the other hand for 2-3 minutes. Switch and repeat the massage for the other hand.
Benefits: Lao Gong acupoint is located on the Pericardium Meridian, in which pericardium is the outer covering of the heart. In TCM, it is recorded in classics that the pericardium “takes on illnesses and ailments on behalf of the heart”, meaning that not only is it a physical protective covering for the heart, it is also more susceptible to illnesses and conditions related to the heart such as stress, anxiety, depression, fatigue. Therefore, during times of negative emotions developed from work, hitting/massaging Lao Gong acupoint can stimulate the Pericardium Meridian and in turns relieves tension and fatigue. Furthermore, frequent stimulation of this acupoint can have additional benefits of soothing the nerves, promoting better sleep, reducing stress and relieving tension of the hand muscles.
Massaging the Ear Acupoints
Location of Acupoints: All over the ears.
Technique: Using both hands, lightly massage both ears in a clockwise or anticlockwise direction for 36 times simultaneously.
Benefits: The ear contains over 120 acupoints that correspond to various parts of the body. In fact, when seen as a whole, the areas represented by different ear acupoints is said to be an illustration of an inverted near-term fetus projected onto the ear. In TCM, it is mentioned that all major meridians pass through the ear, making massages of the ears effective in treating a variety of ailments throughout the body. Therefore, for people who lack exercises and have poor circulations, massaging the ear acupoints can stimulate most of the meridians and increase body circulation rapidly. Frequent massages of the ear acupoints can even improve the general state of health.
Dr Lim Xiang Jun is registered Dr of Traditional Chinese Medicine Physician whom first completed her BSc(hons) in Biomedical Sciences in Singapore before completing a BSc in Chinese Medicine, MSc and PHD in Acupuncture in Beijing. She is also qualified in Yoga and is a certified Ayurveda Practitioner.