a fast-paced world, it is easy to overwork yourself, take on too
many commitments, and extend yourself to the point of exhaustion.
This energy imbalance weakens the immune system. If we take care
of ourselves by eating properly, getting enough rest and exercise,
and practicing techniques that release tension and balance our
bodies - then our resistance to illness is strong. If, on the
other hand, we abuse our bodies, push ourselves too hard, eat
poorly, don't exercise, and fail to release tension, our immune
system weakens, and we are more prone to illness. Acupressure
and deep breathing strengthen the immune system and can help you
ward off disease.
accumulate inside our bodies, causing shoulder and neck tensions
as well as anxieties that often make it hard to breathe. I use
acupressure, deep breathing, and stretching exercises daily to
counteract the common daily pressures in my life.
We can only withstand
a certain amount of stress. Each person has a different threshold,
and each must determine for himself or herself how much is too
much. When you cultivate an inner awareness of what's going on
inside you, both emotionally and physically, you discover your
optimum balance of activity and rest.
medicine discovered that excesses of particular activities weaken
the immune system by overstressing certain acupressure meridian
pathways. (The following potent points are described in detail
later in this chapter.)
standing damages the bladder and kidney meridians, which
can cause fatigue and low backaches. To restore these meridians,
stimulate the Sea of Vitality points (B 23 and B 47) by rubbing
your lower back for one minute. Then hold Elegant Mansion (K
27) directly below your collarbone for another minute. Finally,
hold the Bigger Stream (K 3) points on the insides of your ankles
for one minute as you breathe deeply.
sitting can damage the stomach and spleen meridians, which
can contribute to anemia or digestive disorders. Stimulate the
Three Mile Points (St 36) on the outsides of your calves to
benefit these meridians.
lying down can damage the large intestine and lung meridians,
which can affect both respiration and elimination. For these
meridians use Joining the Valley (Hoku, LI 4) in the valley
between the thumb and forefinger and Crooked Pond (LI 11) on
the upper edge of your elbow crease as directed on page 120.
use of your eyes (as in close desk work) or emotional stress
can damage the small intestine and heart meridians, which can
create emotional imbalances. The Sea of Tranquility (CV 17)
on the center of your breastbone is an excellent point for balancing
physical exertion can damage the gallbladder and liver meridians,
which can cause cramps and spasms. Use Bigger Rushing (Lv 3)
on the top of your feet to benefit these meridians.
By using these
acupressure points regularly, balancing your activities, and practicing
deep breathing you can counteract stresses, prevent fatigue, and
boost your immune system. Deep breathing exercises alone can greatly
increase your energy level and boost your immune system (see page
Diet also plays
an important role in building resistance to illness. When we eat
processed, preserved, or devitalized foods, we weaken our immune
system and our resistance because these foods have been stripped
of necessary nutrients and fiber. Certain foods, such as miso
soup, parsley, beans, tofu, sea vegetables, fresh vegetables,
and lightly toasted sesame seeds can strengthen the immune system
and reinforce the body's ability to protect itself.
Acupressure Points for Strengthening the Immune
There is a particular
acupressure point, Bearing Support (B 36), that governs resistance,
especially resistance to colds and flu. It is located near the
spine, off the tips of the
shoulder blades. The Chinese book The Yellow Emperor's Classic
of Internal Medicine says, wind and cold enter the pores of
the skin" at this point.1 It, as well as other points
in this area, helps to strengthen the immune system. Conversely,
these points around the tips of the shoulder blades are the first
to get blocked up just before an illness, especially a cold or
flu, takes hold.
acupressure points are effective for dealing with a condition
that may be caused by a weak immune system.
- Elegant Mansion (K
27) reinforces immune system functioning by strengthening the
- Steady, firm pressure on the Sea Of Vitality
points (B 23 and B 47) fortifies the immune system, rejuvenates
the internal organs, and relieves pain associated with lower back
- The Sea of Energy (CV 6) tones the abdominal muscles
and intestines, and helps fortify the immune, urinary, and reproductive
- Firm pressure on the Three Mile Point (St 36) immediately
boosts the immune system with renewed energy. It helps tone and
strengthen the major muscle groups, providing greater endurance.
- Bigger Stream (K 3) on the inside of the ankle helps balance the
kidney meridian and strengthen the immune system.
- Bigger Rushing
(Lv 3) and Crooked Pond (LI 11) are important points for relieving
pain and strengthening the immune system.
- The Outer Gate point
(TW 5) helps to balance the immune system and strengthen the whole
- Hoku (LI 4) is a famous decongestant and anti-inflammatory
point; it relieves arthritic pain and strengthens the immune system.
- Last, and most important of all, the Sea of Tranquility (CV 17)
governs the body's resistance to illness and decreases anxiety
by regulating the thymus gland.
Each of these important points
benefits the immune system by enabling the internal organs to
function at optimal levels.
Potent Points for Boosting
the Immune System
Mansion (K 27)
In the depression directly below the protrusions of the collarbone.
Strengthens the immune system as well as relieves chest congestion,
breathing difficulties, asthma, coughing, anxiety, and depression.
of Vitality (B 23 and B 47)
Do not press on disintegrating discs or fractured or broken bones.
If you have a weak back, a few minutes of stationary, light touching
instead of pressure can be very healing. See your doctor first
if you have any questions or need medical advice.
In the lower back, between the second and third lumbar vertebrae,
two to four finger widths away from the spine at waist level.
Fortifies the immune system as well as relieves lower-back
aches and fatigue.
of Energy (CV 6)
Two finger widths below the belly button, between it and the pubic
Strengthens the condition of the immune system and the internal
organs as well as relieves abdominal muscle pain, constipation,
gas, and general weakness.
Mile Point (St 36)
Four finger widths below the kneecap, one finger width to
the outside of the shinbone. If you are on the correct spot, a
muscle should flex as you move your foot up and down.
Strengthens the whole body, especially the immune system;
tones the muscles and aids digestion as well as relieves fatigue.
This point should not be stimulated strongly after the third month
Midway between the inside of the anklebone and the Achilles tendon
in the back of the ankle.
Strengthens the immune system; relieves fatigue, swollen feet,
and ankle pain.
Rushing (Lv 3)
On the top of the foot, in the valley between the big toe
and the second toe.
Boosts the immune system; relieves fainting, eye fatigue, headaches,
Pond (LI 11)
On the upper edge of the elbow crease.
Relieves immune system weaknesses, fever, constipation, and elbow
Gate (TW 5)
Two and one-half finger widths above the center of the wrist
crease on the outside of the forearm midway between the two bones
(ulna and radius).
Relieves rheumatism, tendonitis, and wrist pain, and increases
resistance to colds.
the Valley (LI 4)
This point is forbidden for pregnant women because its stimulation
can cause premature contractions in the uterus.
In the webbing between the thumb and index finger at the
highest spot of the muscle when the thumb and index finger are
brought close together.
Relieves arthritis, constipation, headaches, toothaches, shoulder
pain, and labor pain.
of Tranquility (CV 17)
On the center of the breastbone three thumb widths up from the
base of the bone.
Relieves anxiety, anguish, and depression; boosts the immune system
and regulates the thymus gland.
You do not
have to use all of these points. 14 just one or two of them whenever
you have a In hand can be effective.
Potent Point Exercises
for this routine and loosen your clothing if necessary.
K 27: Place your middle fingers in the hollows directly below
the protrusions of the collarbone just outside your upper breastbone.
Breathe deeply as you hold for oneminute.
Sit forward on
the lip of your chair for the next exercise.
B 23 and B 47: Place the backs of your hands against your
lower back. Rub up and down briskly for one minute, creating heat
from the friction. This self-massage will stimulate both lower
Sit back comfortably
CV 6: Place your fingertips in the center of your lower abdominal
area, between your belly button and pubic bone. Gradually press
one to two inches deep inside the lower abdomen. Close your eyes
as you breathe deeply.
St 36: Place your right heel on the Three Mile point (St 36)
of your left leg and briskly rub it up and down on the outside
of your shinbone, just below your knee. After one minute, do the
same on the other side.
Rub K 3 and
then Lv 3: Place your right heel between your left inner anklebone
and the Achilles tendon. After rubbing K 3 for thirty seconds,
place your right heel in the juncture between the bones that attach
to the large and second toes to rub Lv 3 for thirty seconds. Then
switch sides to stimulate these two points on your other foot
for thirty seconds each.
LI 11: With your arms bent in front of you and your palms
down, place the palm side of your right fist on top of the elbow
crease of your left hand. Briskly rub over the elbow joint with
your palm for thirty seconds, creating heat with the friction.
Then do the same on the other arm.
Rub TW 5 and
then LI 4: Make a fist with your right hand and place it on
the outside of your forearm,
two finger widths from your wrist crease. Briskly rub TW 5 for
thirty seconds. Then place your right fist on LI 4 (webbing
between the thumb and index finger of your left hand). Use your
knuckles to briskly rub the Hoku point for thirty seconds. Switch
arms and stimulate these two points on the other side.
1 and 2: This will further boost your immune system.
Press CV 17:
Keeping your palms together, place the back of your thumbs
firmly against your breastbone to press CV 17, at the level of
your heart. Continue to keep your eyes closed and concentrate
on breathing slow, even, deep breaths into your heart to completely
dispel any anxiety. Use the following exercise
A Breathing Exercise for the Immune System
Focus on breathing
deeply for two more minutes. Gently control your respiratory system,
making each breath grow longer and deeper than the last one. Breathe
out any tensions you feel restricting your lungs from moving fully
and naturally. Feel your mind clear with each breath. Notice the
resistance Your mind creates: the worries and judgments it comes
up against. Take several deep breaths and dissolve these barriers.
Breathe deeply and gently; remember, you are breathing in life
Hold the breath
at the top of the exhalation for a moment, feeling its fullness.
Then exhale smoothly, letting your hands drift down into your
lap, and relax, feeling the vitality of the breath circulate throughout
Felix Mann, Treatment of Disease by Acupuncture (London:
William Heinemann Medical Books, Ltd., 1976), 32, 37.