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Acupressure Points for
Colds and Flu

Side view of anatomical chart     Colds 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.


Because acupressure 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.


Acupressure Points
for Seasonal Changes



Potent point 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


Recently, one 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 his nose.


Potent Points for Relieving Colds and Flu

Drilling Bamboo (B 2)

Location: In the indentations of the eye sockets, on either side of where the bridge of the nose meets the ridge of the eyebrows.

Benefits: Relieves colds, sinus congestion, frontal headaches, and tired eyes.

 

Facial Beauty (St 3)

Location: At the bottom of the cheekbone, directly below the pupil.

Benefits: Relieves stuffy nose, head congestion, burning eyes, eye fatigue, and eye pressure.

 

Welcoming Perfume (LI 20)

Location: On either cheek, just outside each nostril.

Benefits: Relieves nasal congestion, sinus pain, facial paralysis, and facial swelling.

 

Crooked Pond (LI 11)

Location: At the outer end of the elbow crease.

Benefits: Relieves cold symptoms, fever, constipation, and elbow pain; strengthens the immune system.

 

Joining the Valley (Hoku) (LI 4)

Caution: This point is forbidden for pregnant women because its stimulation can cause premature contractions in the uterus.

Location: At the highest spot of the muscle on the back of the hand that protrudes when the thumb and index finger are close together.

Benefits: Relieves colds, flu, head congestion, constipation, and headaches.

 

Gates of Consciousness (GB 20)

Location: Below the base of the skull, in the hollows on both sides, two to three inches apart depending on the size of the head.

Benefits: Relieves headaches, head congestion, arthritis, neck pain, and irritability.

 

Wind Mansion (GV 16)

Location: In the center of the back of the head, in the large hollow under the base of the skull.

Benefits: Relieves head congestion, red eyes, mental stress, headaches, and stiff neck.

 

Third Eye Point (GV 24.5)

Location: Directly between the eyebrows, in the indentation where the bridge of the nose meets the center of your forehead.

Benefits: Relieves head congestion, stuffy nose, and headaches.

Elegant Mansion (K 27)

Location: In the hollow below the collarbone next to the breastbone.

Benefits: Relieves chest congestion, breathing difficulties, coughing, and sore throats.

 

Potent Point Exercises

You 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.



Step 1

Press into 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.


 

Step 2

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.


 

 

Step 3

Press both 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.


 

Step 4

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.


 

Step 5

Firmly press 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.


 

Step 6

Firmly press 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.


 

Step 7

Touch the 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.


 

Step 8

Firmly press 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

A 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 continues unattended.

Sometimes, your 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.

 

Vital Diaphragm (B 38)

Location: Between the shoulder blade and the spine at the level of the heart.

Benefits: Relieves coughing, breathing difficulties, and respiratory problems. This calming point also helps balance the emotions.

 



Ding Chuan (Extra Point 17)

Location: To the side and a little above the vertebra that protrudes at the top of the spine when the head is tilted downward.

Benefits: Relieves throat problems, coughing, shoulder and neck pain, and thyroid imbalances.

 

Heavenly Pillar (13 10)

Location: One-half inch below the base of the skull on the ropy muscles one-half inch out from either side of the spine.

Benefits: Relieves sore throat, stress, burnout, overexertion, and heaviness in the head.

 

Heaven Rushing Out (CV 22)

Location: At the base of the throat in the large hollow directly below the Adam's apple.

Benefits: Relieves dry cough, bronchitis, sore throat, chest congestion, and heartburn.

 

Elegant Mansion (K 27)

Location: In the hollow below the collarbone next to the breastbone.

Benefits: 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

Although many of the following points can be held while you are sitting, it is preferable to lie down comfortably on your back.


Step 1

Hold both 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 a child.

 

Step 2

Use tennis 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.


 

Step 3

Firmly press 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.


 

Step 4

Hold both 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


1  Felix Mann, Treatment of Disease by Acupuncture (London: William Heinemann Medical Books, Ltd., 1976), 32, 37.

2  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.

3  This step is optional. If you don't have tennis balls or a pair of small rubber balls, feel free to skip this point.


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