Chinese Medicine offers western holistic medical practitioners a wonderful way to explore health and vitality.
At its simplest level, Chinese Medicine is focused on balancing Yin and Yang. Acupressure is a technique often used within Meridian Massage.
Yin and Yang are the two fundamental aspects of all creation: thoughts, material objects, emotions, plants, humans, business enterprises, relationships, everything. For the western mindset, we can think: “two sides of the same coin.” The coin is a single object, yet it is made up of two distinct sides. Without the union of both sides, we would not recognize the coin. This is Yin and Yang.
In the course of a twenty four hour day, we have day time (Yang), and night time (Yin). All the moments within this cycle are mixtures of Yin and Yang. Noon is when the Sun is the highest and is the most Yang time of the cycle when compared to midnight, the darkest most Yin time. Notice that Yin and Yang, noon and midnight, are known in relationship to one another. Taken together, the movement and relative relationship of Yin and Yang create the balance of the twenty four hour cycle.
Because Yin and Yang are the basis of all creation, Yin and Yang are therefore the basis of human life. Chinese Medicine recognizes Yin and Yang as the elements of Fire and Water. The relative balance of Fire and Water in the body gives rise to the experience of our body temperature, energy, metabolism, sexual desire, moods, appetite, immune function, and more. A simple description of health could be a harmonious balance of Yin and Yang. Any form of massage therapy can support the balance of Yin and Yang.
Massage Therapists can easily learn how to add acupressure points into their collection of massage techniques. By combining just five acupressure points, a Massage Therapist can support the balance of Fire and Water within their client, thus supporting their overall well being. Let’s get started.
Where is Fire in the human body?
The Heart Organ System of Chinese Medicine is associated with the Fire element. The acupressure points used will therefore be located on the Heart meridian, which is located on both arms and hands. The acupressure point Heart 7 is located on the palm surface (anterior) of the ulnar (pinky) side of the wrist crease.
Where is Water in the human body?
The Kidney Organ System of Chinese Medicine is associated with the Water element. The acupressure points used will therefore be located on the Kidney meridian, which is located on the abdomen, chest, and both legs and feet. The acupressure point Kidney 3 is located on the medial surface of the ankle between the medial malleolus and the Achilles Tendon.
Gently apply pressure to both Kidney 3 and Heart 7 on one side of the body and hold for at least three breaths. Pay attention to the breathing pattern of you and your client while holding these points and imagining Fire and Water coming into balance. After three or more breaths, move to the other side and repeat.
Acupressure is an art developed through practice and experience.
Apply pressure to your own acupressure points at different intensities using your thumbs and other fingers. Notice the different sensations. Keep practicing and noticing your experience. Also, ask your clients about their experience. Even if you are not fully trained in Shiatsu Massage or Chinese Tui Na, you can gain skill in acupressure by exploring points on your own body first and then trying your technique with clients.
Three more acupressure points will complete your Fire and Water balancing.
1. REN 6 (also known as the Conception Vessel) is located about an inch and half below the naval. This area is close the Urinary Bladder, which is the paired organ with the Kidney.
2. REN 17 is located on the center of the sternum (breast bone) at the level of the fourth rib. This point is located very close to the heart itself, and has a powerful effect on calming the heart. Holding these acupressure points at the same time helps the Fire and Water of the body return to a more balanced relationship. Gently apply one or two fingers to these points and hold for at least three breaths.
3. DU 20. While maintaining your contact with REN 6, apply pressure to the acupressure point DU 20 (also known as the Governing Vessel). DU 20 is located at the highest point of the skull, right in the center. Now you are connecting a very strong Yin point (REN 6) to a very strong Yang point (DU 20). Breath, feel your feet grounded into the floor and allow your client’s energy to flow through the acupressure points and meridians, thus balancing the Yin and Yang of their entire body.
Watch my video demonstration of this session:
Point combinations for balancing Fire and Water:
HT 7 + KD 3 (on both sides)
REN 6 + REN 17 + DU 20
Common ailments that are relieved by balancing Fire and Water:
Use this session to:
Relieve anxiety, short temper, stress induced headaches, insomnia (symptoms of too much Fire and not enough Water). Also, relieve fatigue, lethargy, foggy thinking, apathy (symptoms of too much Water and not enough Fire).
Cindy Black, L.Ac., LMT
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