Relieve head, neck, and shoulder pain
Gallbladder 21 does it all!
The area between the neck and shoulders is a common place for muscle tension and pain. This is right where the upper trapezius muscle and Gallbladder 21 are located. If you’ve ever had a massage, then I am sure you’ve enjoyed having this area kneaded and released from tension!
Gallbladder 21 (GB 21) is located in the upper trapezius muscle (see image below).
How to locate Gallbladder 21*
GB 21 is an easy acupoint to locate. If you have ever massaged someone’s shoulder area, you have definitely contacted GB 21. One detail to keep in mind is that GB 21 is on the back side of the upper trapezius. It is at the half-way mark between the side of the neck and the edge of the shoulder, just slightly toward the back side. (See image below.)
Relieve headache pain
Whenever there is headache, neck pain/stiffness, or shoulder pain, use GB 21 as part of your treatment approach. This point is often very sore, so apply gentle pressure at first. Increase your pressure as your client exhales, while asking them to tell you when they feel like the pressure is “just right.” Add gentle kneading and circular movements to encourage the flow of blood and Qi (“chee” – energy) within the local area.
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Send the Qi down
Gallbladder 21 is famous for moving the Qi downward.
Headaches are often the result of too much Qi stuck in the head. Massaging GB 21 releases Qi from the head area and encourages it to flow downward along the Gallbladder meridian. Once the stuck Qi is released from the head, the pain subsides.
GB 21 is so good at moving the Qi down, it should not be used during pregnancy!
Relieve neck and shoulder pain
Due to its location, GB 21 is in the perfect position to relieve neck and shoulder pain. Pain and stiffness are often the result of Qi backing up or stagnating in a particular area. By massaging GB 21, we encourage the Qi to move and flow again. Combining soothing massage to the muscles of the neck and shoulder, with attention to GB 21 is a simple and effective way to relieve local pain.
Acupoints are located on both sides of the body
Like all acupoints, GB 21 is located on both shoulders. Even if the pain is confined to one side, massage GB 21 on both sides for the best results. This point by itself contributes greatly to Qi flow and pain reduction, but it’s always best to add in a few more points to address the specific concerns of each individual.
*Gallbladder 21 is contraindicated during pregnancy. Do not massage GB 21 during pregnancy.