Learning & Resource Center Articles
Fibromyalgia: How to Use Self-Acupressure to Relieve Symptoms
By: Vanessa Vogel Batt, L.Ac., MSTOM
For anyone suffering from fibromyalgia, knowing where to apply self-acupressure may help ease some of the symptoms associated with the disorder. The most common tell-tale symptom of fibromyalgia is widespread body pain, and it can occur for a minimum of three months. This pain is specifically labeled as "widespread" because it is felt simultaneously above and below the waist, and on both sides of the body. Despite this major characteristic, however, fibromyalgia can be linked to other symptoms as well, including:
- Fatigue and nonrestorative sleep
- 'Fibro fog,' a decrease in cognitive abilities affecting concentration
- Depression and anxiety
- Abdominal pain and cramping
Symptoms of fibromyalgia have been known to occur after certain events such as physical trauma, surgery, infection and extreme psychological stress. In other cases, a gradual onset of symptoms occur in the absence of one defining event. And although each patient may describe their pain with different terms like dull, achy, piercing or burning, the one commonality between them is the constant, unrelenting experience of discomfort.
Anyone who is female or has a family history of fibromyalgia or a diagnosis of post-traumatic stress disorder (PSTD) or rheumatic disease (e.g. lupus) has an increased risk for the disorder.
Aside from these points, it is important to recognize that psychological stresses can play a significant role in the presentation of fibromyalgia. Employing self-acupressure can help one regain emotional well-being and better control the onset of symptoms. For best self-acupressure results, apply gentle yet firm pressure from your middle-finger as you make tiny circular motions. This may be done as little as once a day or as much as once every hour.
Here are some locations on the body where self-acupressure can help to alleviate symptoms of fibromyalgia:
- Yintang – located between the eyes, at the level of the eyebrows. This point is renowned for its ability to soothe anxiety and promote a general relaxation of the body. Stimulation of this point may help with obsessive and unproductive thoughts.
- Ear Shen Men – located on the upper portion of the ear in the triangular fossa, nearly a perfect fit to gently place a fingertip and press. The name of this point speaks for itself, stimulation here brings the potential for great relief from any kind of physical and/or emotional pain, metaphorically allowing the patient to enter 'heaven.'
- Ren 17 – located in the center of chest at the level of the fourth intercostal space, at the same level as the nipples. This is a great point to help relieve the sensation of rising anxiety and help the body physically relax as well.
- Pericardium 6 – located on the lower, inner side of arm, four finger widths from the wrist crease and between the two tendons in the middle of the arm. Gentle pressing can help promote a sense of well-being and relief from nausea.
- Stomach 36 – located about four finger widths down from the outer eye of the knee, then over about the width of the middle finger, from the shin bone. This invaluable point is known for its ability to promote general wellness by stimulating the immune system, stopping pain anywhere in the body and calming the shen. According to the theory of acupuncture and Oriental Medicine, "calming the shen" refers to the stabilization of negative mental and emotional states.
To learn more about self-acupressure for your specific symptoms of fibromyalgia, contact your practitioner of acupuncture and Oriental medicine for an appointment.
Find an Acupuncturist near you to learn how acupuncture and Oriental medicine can help ease your symptoms!
About the Author: Vanessa Vogel Batt, L.Ac., MSTOM, studied at the Pacific College of Oriental Medicine, and practiced acupuncture and Oriental medicine in New York for several years. Vanessa enjoys traveling the world, and has published articles on acupuncture and Oriental medicine and related health topics for websites and publications in both the U.S. and abroad.