Meridian Massage is a simple and effective way to ease sciatic pain.
Understanding sciatic pain from the Meridian Massage perspective:
Sciatic pain frequently follows the Gallbladder meridian (GB) precisely along its path. Although the Gallbladder meridian begins at the corner of the eye, this long meridian travels along the side of the head, side of the trunk, hip, outer side of the leg, lateral ankle, and ends on the fourth toe.
Sciatic pain less often, but frequently enough, follows the path of the Urinary Bladder (UB) meridian.
The UB meridian (also known as Bladder meridian) begins on the inner corner of the eye, travels over the top of the head, down the back parallel to the spine, through the center of the buttocks, over the center of the back of the thigh (hamstrings) and lower leg, along the lateral ankle, and ends on the fifth toe.
Does the pain travel down the side of the leg (GB) or the back of the leg (UB)?
Key Point: GB 30
The Gallbladder point 30 is located in the lateral buttocks. This point if often a site of focused sciatic pain. Pain that is radiating from this point is easily attributed to the Gallbladder meridian. Interestingly, GB 30 is also where the piriformis muscle crosses over the sciatic nerve.
Sciatic pain may or may not travel all the way to the foot. Ask your client if the pain is traveling along the side of their leg (Gallbladder meridian) or down the back of their leg (Urinary Bladder meridian). They will likely point to the exact meridian, either on the side of the thigh (GB) or to the hamstrings (UB).
I always apply pressure to the point GB 30 to assess if the Qi is stagnant there, even if they say the pain is down the back of the leg along the UB meridian.
What is pain?
Rather than differentiating nerve pain from muscle pain, within the context of Meridian Massage, sciatic pain is due to Qi stagnation. For some reason the Qi is not able to flow all the way through the meridian. When the Qi flows again through the meridian and points, the result will be sciatic pain relief. Simply put, Meridian Massage gets the Qi flowing again.
Stagnant Qi is Qi that gathers and does not move.
Like swelling within a joint causes pain from the gathering pressure, Qi that gathers and stagnates in one place also causes pain. The strange thing about Qi is that because it is energy we do not see it, but we sure do feel it!
Meridian Massage to Move Qi
All we need to do in order to relieve sciatic pain is move the Qi. Qi that flows smoothly in the meridians creates feelings of vibrancy and ease, as opposed to stagnant, stuck Qi that creates feelings of pain and constriction.
Use light, quick strokes on the affected meridian from the beginning point of the pain in the low back or buttock area all the way down to the toe. Ask yourself, “How do I move this Qi?” Let moving the Qi be the focus of your mind and awareness. Allow all of the massage skills you already know to flow through your body, creating the perfect set of techniques for the unique individual you are working on right now.
Contrast massaging the meridian with moving Qi at specific points along the way. On the Gallbladder meridian, be sure to attend to GB 30, 34, 40, 41 and 44. Allow yourself to create movement at these points, open the blockages, and create space for the Qi to flow. As the Qi flows, your client will report relief from their sciatic pain.
On the Urinary Bladder meridian, be sure to attend to UB points on the sacrum (UB 31 – 34*), UB 36, 40, 60*, 62, 67. (*Sacral points and UB 60 are contraindicated in pregnancy.)
Nerve pain relief can be felt as the result of getting the Qi moving again. A tight piriformis muscle will relax as the Qi flows. Chronic sciatic nerve pain is relieved when the Qi flows and the piriformis relaxes.
Meridian Massage focuses on the state of the Qi because the state of the underlying Qi is what gives rise to the state of the physical body. Health and vitality are physical reflections of abundant, flowing, harmonious Qi.