are caused by viruses that thrive in your nose and throat when
the temperature, acidity, and moisture suit them. When you are
run down and your resistance is low, your ability to adapt to
environmental changes weakens, making it easier to catch a cold,
and the mucous membranes become a perfect breeding ground for
viruses. Cold symptoms are the body's attempt to protect itself
from these intruders. When a virus enters your nose, for instance,
the body secretes more mucus to flush it away.
stimulates your body to expel the virus more quickly, it may seem
at first that your cold is worsening. But your body is simply
progressing through the symptoms faster than usual. Although acupressure
cannot cure a cold, working on certain points can help you get
better quicker and increase your resistance to future colds.
for Seasonal Changes
B 36, called Bearing Support, is especially good for stimulating
the body's natural resistance to colds and flus. It's located
near the spine, off the tips of the shoulder blades. According
to traditional Chinese medicine, wind and cold enter the pores
of the skin at this point.1 The muscles in this upper
back area tend to get tense just before a cold or flu takes hold.2
of my best friends, a realtor, was suffering from a bad cold with
a stuffy nose, a hacking cough, puffiness around his eyes, and
a pallid complexion. He hadn't slept well the previous two nights
because of these discomforts and was very tired. After I briefly
massaged his upper back, shoulders, neck, and chest, I showed
him how to press the decongestion points underneath the base of
his skull and on his face. I also told him to drink ginger tea
at least twice a day. When I saw John the next day, he told me
he had slept soundly and felt much more refreshed. His eyes looked
much clearer, and already he was no longer coughing and blowing
Potent Points for Relieving Colds and Flu
Bamboo (B 2)
In the indentations of the eye sockets, on either side of
where the bridge of the nose meets the ridge of the eyebrows.
Relieves colds, sinus congestion, frontal headaches, and tired
Beauty (St 3)
At the bottom of the cheekbone, directly below the pupil.
Relieves stuffy nose, head congestion, burning eyes, eye fatigue,
and eye pressure.
Perfume (LI 20)
On either cheek, just outside each nostril.
Relieves nasal congestion, sinus pain, facial paralysis, and
Pond (LI 11)
At the outer end of the elbow crease.
Relieves cold symptoms, fever, constipation, and elbow pain;
strengthens the immune system.
the Valley (Hoku) (LI 4)
point is forbidden for pregnant women because its stimulation
can cause premature contractions in the uterus.
At the highest spot of the muscle on the back of the hand
that protrudes when the thumb and index finger are close together.
Relieves colds, flu, head congestion, constipation, and headaches.
of Consciousness (GB 20)
Below the base of the skull, in the hollows on both sides,
two to three inches apart depending on the size of the head.
Relieves headaches, head congestion, arthritis, neck pain,
Mansion (GV 16)
In the center of the back of the head, in the large hollow
under the base of the skull.
Relieves head congestion, red eyes, mental stress, headaches,
and stiff neck.
Eye Point (GV 24.5)
Directly between the eyebrows, in the indentation where the
bridge of the nose meets the center of your forehead.
Relieves head congestion, stuffy nose, and headaches.
Mansion (K 27)
In the hollow below the collarbone next to the breastbone.
Relieves chest congestion, breathing difficulties, coughing,
and sore throats.
Potent Point Exercises
do not have to use all of these points. Using just one or two
of them whenever you have a free hand can be effective.
Lie down on your
back or sit comfortably.
B 2: Use your thumbs on the upper ridge of your eye socket
to press into the slight hollow near the bridge of your nose for
one minute. Close your eyes and take a few deep breaths, letting
the weight of your head relax forward onto your thumbs.
Press St 3
and LI 20: Place both of your middle fingers beside your nostrils
and your index fingers next to them; gradually press up and underneath
the cheekbones for one minute. You can easily teach this step
to your child to help relieve nasal congestion.
LI 11: Bend your arm and place your thumb at the- end of the
elbow crease on the outside of your forearm. Curve your fingers
to press firmly into the elbow joint for one minute. Repeat on
your opposite arm.
Press LI 4
firmly: Spread your left thumb and index finger apart. Place
your right thumb in the webbing on the back of your left hand
and your fingertips on the palm directly behind your thumb. Firmly
squeeze your thumb and index finger of your right hand together
to press into the webbing. Angle the pressure toward the bone
that connects with your left index finger, and hold for one minute.
Then switch hands.
GB 20: Now close your eyes and place your thumbs underneath
the base of your skull, two to three inches apart. Slowly tilt
your head back and apply pressure gradually, holding the position
for one minute to fully release these important cold-relief points.
GV 16: Place the tips of your middle fingers into the hollow
in the center of the base of your skull. Keeping your fingers
on the point, inhale as you tilt your head back and exhale as
you relax your head forward. Continue to slowly rock your head
back and forward, and breathe deeply while you hold this important
point for relieving head congestion.
GV 24.5: Bring your palms together and use your middle and
index fingers to lightly touch the Third Eye Point located between
your eyebrows. Breathe deeply as you hold this point for balancing
your endocrine system.
K 27: Place your fingertips on the protrusions of your collarbone,
then slide your fingers down and outward into the first indentation
in between the bones. Press into this hollow as you breathe deeply
and visualize the congestion clearing.
Potent Points for Relieving Coughing
severe, repeated, or uncontrolled cough can be harmful and you
should always consult a physician. Many illnesses such as influenza,
pneumonia, and chronic bronchitis can become serious if the condition
physician will find it advisable to attempt to suppress a cough
to prevent further irritation of the bronchial tubes. Cough medications
may be used, but acupressure can be an effective adjunct therapy.
During a coughing fit, many of the large muscle groups in the
upper back area can go into a spasm. Specific points on the chest,
throat, neck, and upper back benefit the respiratory system, relax
your body, and relieve coughs.
Diaphragm (B 38)
Between the shoulder blade and the spine at the level of the
Relieves coughing, breathing difficulties, and respiratory
problems. This calming point also helps balance the emotions.
Chuan (Extra Point 17)
To the side and a little above the vertebra that protrudes
at the top of the spine when the head is tilted downward.
Relieves throat problems, coughing, shoulder and neck pain,
and thyroid imbalances.
Pillar (13 10)
One-half inch below the base of the skull on the ropy muscles
one-half inch out from either side of the spine.
Relieves sore throat, stress, burnout, overexertion, and heaviness
in the head.
Rushing Out (CV 22)
At the base of the throat in the large hollow directly below
the Adam's apple.
Relieves dry cough, bronchitis, sore throat, chest congestion,
Mansion (K 27)
In the hollow below the collarbone next to the breastbone.
Relieves chest congestion, breathing difficulties, asthma,
coughing, and anxiety.
(You do not
have to use all of these points. Using just one or two of them
whenever you have a cough can be effective.)
Potent Point Exercises
many of the following points can be held while you are sitting,
it is preferable to lie down comfortably on your back.
K 27 points: Place your fingertips on your chest and firmly
press into the indentations directly below the protrusions of
the collarbone. This is another point that you can easily teach
balls3 on B 38: Place two small rubber balls or
tennis balls together on a clean carpet. Lie down, placing the
balls between your shoulder blades at the level of your heart.
Close your eyes and take three long, deep breaths as you continue
to press the K 27 points on your upper chest.
extra point 17: Slowly roll the tennis balls a few inches
higher toward the base of your neck. If the tennis balls tend
to slip, or you aren't using them, Sim ly use both middle fingers
to press this important acupressure point at the base of the neck.
B 10 points and CV 22: Press B 10 on the upper neck with one
hand, using the fingertips. Use your other hand to lightly hold
CV 22, an inch below the base of the Adam's apple, pressing lightly
at a downward angle. Close your eyes and breathe deeply as you
visualize healing energy soothing your throat.
For Sore Throats and Coughing
A small piece
of fresh ginger can be one of the most natural and effective ways
for soothing a sore throat. Simply place a very thin slice of
fresh ginger on the back of your tongue. If your throat is sensitive
and the ginger feels hot, use a smaller, thinner piece and place
it farther back toward your throat. Keep the ginger in the back
of your throat for ten minutes. Repeat with a fresh piece several
times a day as needed. A quarter cup of chopped ginger can also
be simmered in a few cups of water and used as a tea for soothing
coughs and sore throats.
Additional Points for Relieving Colds and Flu
Felix Mann, Treatment of Disease by Acupuncture (London:
William Heinemann Medical Books, Ltd., 1976), 32, 37.
For more information and self-help techniques for colds
and flu see Michael Reed Gach, Acu-Yoga (Tokyo: Japan Publications,
198 1) pp. 138-142.
This step is optional. If you don't have tennis balls or
a pair of small rubber balls, feel free to skip this point.