By Sara Calabro This edition of Why Are You Doing That Point?, like the last one, will focus on a point on the Kidney channel. Kidney 6—also known as Shining Sea (English name), Zhaohai (Chinese translation), and KD6 (acupuncturist lingo)—is located on the inner ankle. Find it by locating the high point of your medial malleolous, the prominent bone on the inside of your ankle. Drop your finger to directly below the malleolous and you’ll feel a little dip between two tendons. That is Kidney 6 (see picture below). If you don’t feel the dip, try flexing your foot slightly. Kidney 6, in addition to being an effective point for resolving a host of issues—literally, from head to toe—serves as a reminder of how acupuncture’s greatness lies in its subtlety.
By Sara Calabro This is part two of a series on acupuncture points for reducing stress. In part one, we explain how we gathered these points, and introduce the first 10. If you haven’t read part one, do that first. Then, check out the remaining 11 points below. They are all located on the head!
By Sara Calabro Everyone has a go-to stress response. Some people escape to sunny beaches. Others reach for wine. Many buy things they don’t need. Many more ignore it. All stress responses, assuming no one gets hurt or goes bankrupt, have their merits. Whatever works! However, many common coping mechanisms for stress are unrealistic, inconvenient, or unsustainable. After all, how many of us can jet off to the Caribbean every time life gets stressful? Acupuncture treatments, as well as the theoretical tenets of acupuncture, have much to offer in the way of long-term stress reduction. But what about in-the-moment stress relief? You’re about to give a big presentation. You’re waiting to hear about test results. The turbulence on your flight won’t let up. Several acupuncture points can help calm you down. We asked acupuncturists, what is your all-time favorite acupuncture point for stress reduction? A key criteria was that the point had to be accessible for performing self-acupressure, so neither acupuncture needles nor an acupuncturist are required to benefit from these points. They can be pressed anywhere, any time for immediate stress reduction.
By Sara Calabro The Why Are You Doing That Point? series is back with a lesser used but very valuable acupuncture point: Kidney 1. Kidney 1—also known as Gushing Spring (English name), Yongquan (Chinese translation), and KD1 (acupuncturist lingo)—is located on the bottom of the foot (see picture below). Kidney 1 is the only acupuncture point on the bottom of the foot. Since some people are freaked out at the thought of taking a needle there, many acupuncturists stay clear of needling Kidney 1. However, Kidney 1 hurts much less than you’d expect—often, there’s no sensation at all—especially when it’s needled by a skilled acupuncturist. Acupuncturists commonly use Kidney 1 as an acupressure point, at either the beginning or end of a treatment, to help ground a person’s energy (more on this below). You can do this yourself. Because it’s on the bottom of the foot, Kidney 1 is an easily accessible point for performing self-acupressure.
By Sara Calabro Spring is here! Yes! Except for the fact that many people don’t feel so hot this time of year. The flu is—knock on wood—mostly behind us. Allergies have not quite exploded yet. So, why do so many of us feel off in the early days of spring? You can kindly thank your Liver! In acupuncture theory, humans are viewed as microcosms of the natural world that surrounds them. Seasons—particularly the transitional periods, when we move from one season to the next—factor significantly into how we feel. Each season is linked with an organ system in the body, and spring’s system is Liver. This means that the Liver, as it adjusts to taking over the seasonal reins, is especially vulnerable. When the Liver is vulnerable, the functions throughout the body for which the Liver is responsible have a tendency to get out of whack.
By Sara Calabro Do you want to really impress your Valentine this year? Looking for a meaningful way to express your love without breaking the bank? Then forget the flowers, chocolates, and diamonds. Valentine’s Day celebrated acupuncture-style trumps them all. I don’t mean go out and buy a gift certificate for acupuncture (although, if you can swing it, that’s a good idea too). This Valentine’s Day suggestion is completely free and a sure-fire way to win your loved one’s heart.
By Sara Calabro We’ve been talking a lot about acupressure lately. In just the past couple months, AcuTake has run articles on acupressure for the flu, acupressure for stiff muscles and joints, and acupressure for post-nasal drip. Previously, we’ve covered acupressure for hangover, acupressure for asthma, acupressure for stress reduction, acupressure for low back pain, acupressure for travel and acupressure for allergies. That’s to say nothing of our ever-evolving acupressure library. We’re obsessed with acupressure!
By Sara Calabro Acupuncture strengthens natural resistance to disease. I recently came across that sentence when I was leafing through some old notes from acupuncture school. It was underlined twice and highlighted. Although I don’t remember writing it or which of my teachers said it, the words clearly resonated with me at the time. Rereading them now, especially during peak flu season, they still do. It’s a simple idea and yet profound. Forget endorphins. Forget improved blood circulation. Forget placebo. This is how acupuncture works—by strengthening our natural resistance to disease. Whether we’re talking about the flu, and hence its immunity-boosting ability, or back pain, acupuncture makes us stronger so that we can naturally resist illness and pain. This is true whether it’s happening due to fired up neurotransmitters or a practitioner with exceptional bedside manner.
By Sara Calabro The “Why Are You Doing That Point?” series is back, this time with an easily accessible and broadly useful acupuncture point on the lower leg. Gall Bladder 34—also known as Yanglingquan (Chinese name), Yang Mound Spring (English translation) and GB34 (acupuncturist lingo)—is located just below the knee on the lateral (pinkie toe) side of the leg (see picture below). You can find this point by running your finger up the outside of your leg until you hit a bony prominence. That’s the head of your fibula bone, and Gall Bladder 34 is located just slightly in front of and below where the bone juts out. You can press this point yourself to alleviate stiff muscles, tightness along the side of the body, and to assist your Liver Qi in chilling out. Here’s why acupuncturists so often reach for Gall Bladder 34.
By Sara Calabro ‘Tis the season for post-nasal drip. Fa la la la la, la la la la. Post-nasal drip occurs when the normal mucus that’s produced in the nasal passages fails to transform and move as it should. Either it’s too thick or something, such as throat swelling, obstructs its movement. In either case, the mucus cannot flow normally, which causes it to accumulate in the back of the nose and drip down the throat. Since post-nasal drip is caused by faulty flow rather than a foreign invader vulnerable to antihistamines—which, by the way, can actually make the problem worse because they dry out the nasal passages, further thickening mucus—acupuncture and acupressure are effective remedies. Acupuncture and acupressure eliminate the underlying causes of symptoms by restoring flow. This enables physiological processes to occur normally. In the case of post-nasal drip, there is a specific acupuncture point that transforms mucus so that it moves easily throughout the body.
By Sara Calabro Acupuncture is well known for its ability to lower stress. Many people use acupuncture for stress reduction—and even those who don’t admit to or notice stress in their lives report a greater sense of lightness and evenness to their moods after having acupuncture. During the holiday season, many of us could benefit from the stress-reduction benefits of acupuncture. If you can swing going for acupuncture this time of year, do it—regular acupuncture treatments are a fantastic way to stay healthy and emotionally balanced during high-stress times. But if you, like many people, are on a tighter schedule and budget for the coming month, we’ve got the next-best thing.
By Sara Calabro This installment of “Why Are You Doing That Point?” will focus on Large Intestine 11. The point is considered one of the most vital acupuncture points throughout the body due to its wide range of indications. Large Intestine 11—also known as Quchi (Chinese name), Pool at the Crook (English translation) and LI11 (acupuncturist lingo)—is located at the lateral (thumb side) edge of the elbow crease (see picture below).