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TCM Foot Care: Acupressure Points of the Foot

My intention here is not to provide an exhaustive explanation of acupressure points on the foot. Instead, I would like to share a few of my favorite points that help to:

  • keep active feet happy and functioning well

  • restore and revitalize your body’s energy, which can be easily depleted during summer activity.

I will highlight six acupressure points, providing you with information about their locations, functions, and indications for use. These are only a few points among many that I may work with during client sessions, depending upon your unique needs and presenting situation. If you want to work with these points at home, that may be done by using your index and middle fingers to apply gentle pressure or circular massage at the specific point locations. In some instances it may be appropriate to apply deeper pressure or friction.

Stomach 42 – Rushing Yang

Stomach 42 – Rushing YangLocated at the highest point on the top of the foot; you should be able to feel a pulse at this location

This point is helpful for pain, weakness, and swelling of the foot, digestive problems (such as pain and bloating, lack of appetite), anxiety, agitation, and manic depression.

Spleen 4 – Ancestor and Descendant

Spleen 4 – Ancestor and DescendantBring your index finger to the inside arch of the opposite foot, slide your finger to the point that is just behind the ball of the foot at the place where the skin of the bottom of the foot meets the skin from the top of the foot. Now, place the middle finger next to the index finger, also on that the line where the bottom skin meets the upper skin. This is Spleen 4.

Indications for use: foot cramps, bloating, fullness, or indigestion in the stomach and overall digestive system, blood in stool, seizures, morning sickness for pregnant women, and placenta retention after birth.

Bladder 57 – Supporting Mountain

Bladder 57 – Supporting MountainThis point is located on the back of the lower leg, almost half way between the knee and the heel. It is found just below the gastrocnemius muscle (the large calf muscle), where the main muscle body divides into two tapering sides. Chances are that if you palpate in this area and stumble across a tender or sore point, you probably found the spot!

Although it is not actually located on the foot, this point is a powerful point for releasing painful foot tension, such as that associate with Plantar Fasciitis. Other indications for use include low back pain/stiffness, muscle spasms (such as Charlie Horses in the calf muscle). Interestingly, this point is useful for helping to resolve hemorrhoids (this is quite helpful for post-partum women) and constipation.

Kidney 3 – Great Stream

Kidney 3 – Great StreamLocated in the sunken, fleshy area directly behind the highest point of the inner ankle bone (medial malleolus).

Indications: restore vitality to the Kidney Qi and Kidney Yin, balance Yin and Yang energies, calming for a restless fetus (great to use if fetus is moving a lot at night and keeping mom awake), helpful for insomnia, urinary dysfunction, tinnitus (ringing of the ears), dizziness, breathlessness, reproductive system issues: menopause related symptoms, impotence, irregular menstruation, etc.

Gall Bladder 40 – Hill’s Ruins

Gall Bladder 40 – Hill’s RuinsLocated in the soft, fleshy area in front of and slightly lower than the highest point of the outer ankle bone (lateral malleolus). There is a depression that your finger will sink into.

Indications include ankle pain and swelling, arthritis, depression, headaches, and muscle spasms and pain associated with the: low back, between the ribs, thigh, and hypochondrium (just behind the lower ribs).

Liver 3 – Great Throroughfare

Liver 3 – Great ThroroughfareBring your middle finger to the space between the Big toe and second toe on the top of the foot. Slide your finger up just past the point were the webbing between the toes begins, then place your index finger immediately next to your middle finger. Now, apply gentle pressure, with your index finger, angled slightly towards the large tendon of the Big toe. This is Liver 3.

This is a controversial point that can trigger a rise in anger. However, when used appropriately, Liver 3 is excellent for smoothing the flow of Liver Qi, quieting angry emotions, and drawing down eruptive energy of the body. Other indications include: foot cramps, tired, painful, red eyes (great for women during labor and anyone studying or working for long hours), dizziness/vertigo, liver cleansing. (If you are pregnant, be sure to speak to myself or another qualified practitioner to learn the appropriate degree and direction of pressure to apply to Liver 3.)

May peace be upon you!

Sources:

Lade, Arnie. Acupuncture Points: Images and Functions. Seattle, WA: Eastland Press, Inc., 1989.

Maciocia, Giovanni. The Foundations of Chinese Medicine. 2nd ed. London: Elsevier Limited, 2005.

Reed Gach, Michael, Ph.D. Intermediate & Advanced Acupressure Course Booklet. Berkeley, CA: Acupressure Institute, 2002.