The Small Intestine meridian is often used to relieve shoulder pain.
“The Small Intestine receives the food that has been digested by the Spleen and Stomach and further extracts, absorbs, and distributes it throughout the body, all the while separating the pure from the turbid.” – Yellow Emperor’s Classic of Medicine
The Small Intestine meridian is one of three Yang meridians on the arm. Beginning at acupoint SI 1 on the pinky finger, it passes along the back side of the arm, behind the shoulder, crosses over the shoulder blade, and moves up to the face where it ends at acupoint SI 19. Because of the location of the Small Intestine meridian and points, it is used to support the health of the shoulder joint.
Internally, the Small Intestine meridian connects with the small intestine, stomach, and heart.
The Small Intestine meridian is used to relieve pain along its pathway, and to clear off excess heat (i.e. a fever) from the body. Interestingly, it is not used for specific issues of the small intestine.
Classical Chinese Medicine has a very different perspective of the body than western medicine. The Small Intestine meridian is one place where the differences between Chinese and western medicine really show up.
Tension in the neck and shoulders often gathers along the Small Intestine meridian. I use the Small Intestine meridian to open the shoulder joint, which opens the flow of Qi (energy) between the upper back, neck, head, and the entire arm.
Famous Small Intestine Point
SI 10, Nao Shu, “Upper Arm Transporting Point”
SI 10 is located on the back side of the shoulder. Glide straight up from the top of the back armpit crease. Locate SI 10 directly behind the bones of the shoulder joint. Notice that the arm needs to be along the side of the body in order to find the point easily.
Use vigorous (but not painful) pressure to get the Qi moving, which will relieve shoulder pain due to stuck (stagnant) Qi.
In the diagram above, you can see how the Small Intestine meridian begins on the pinky, travels up the arm and then zigzags on the back of the shoulder. While massaging SI 10, I also squeeze the end of the pinky finger to facilitate the movement of Qi down the arm, along the meridian.
There are many reasons for shoulder pain, and many acupressure points to use for shoulder pain. In almost every instance, Small Intestine 10 will be used to help reduce the pain and restricted motion.
I have written about other acupressure points to reduce shoulder pain – click here to read more about Points for Neck and Shoulder Pain.