to build your immunity
By pressing on certain acupoints you can stimulate your body’s energetic system
By Craig Cormack
Acupressure is one of the many branches of Chinese medicine. It is acupuncture without needles using finger pressure on acupoints. Usually, acupressure is received from a trained therapist. Chinese massotherapy, Shiatsu, and Thai massage incorporate acupressure in their systems. Because of the times we are living in with COVID-19 – accessing therapy is impossible – this article will discuss the acupoints designed to stimulate your immune system and describe how to do a self-treatment.
Acupressure points fall on meridians or energetic highways that cross your body, transporting energy. This energy movement (Chi movement) is of paramount importance for maintaining your health. Blockages in this energy movement can cause imbalances in your body and blood circulation and lead to physical illness. Acupressure unblocks this stagnant energy, activating circulation and bringing your body back to balance
By pressing on certain acupuncture/acupressure (acupoints) with your thumbs, you can stimulate your body’s energetic system (Chi) thereby activating blood circulation and the production of endorphins, reinforcing your immunity.
In my last two articles, Stay Calm And Keep Your Immunity Strong and Stay Calm And Keep Your Immunity Strong /2, I described how you can take charge of your health and build immunity by taking nutraceuticals and vitamins.
Self-acupressure is another way of reinforcing your immunity. By pressing on certain acupuncture/acupressure (acupoints) with your thumbs, you can stimulate your body’s energetic system (Chi) thereby activating blood circulation and the production of endorphins, reinforcing your immunity.
Self-acupressure is usually done with your thumb or forefinger. The following are acupoints for the immune system.
Conception Vessel 4
Also known as the Tantien, it is located on the midline of the abdomen approximately 1.5 inches below your navel. This point has many functions including increasing endurance, reducing tiredness, ridding dizziness and chills. It is also good for back pain, tinnitus, weak knees, weak memory, poor hearing and incontinence.
This point specifically remedies imbalances in the spleen, kidneys and liver.
Conception Vessel 6
One of the most important acupoints on the body in that it is capable of harnessing the inherent but dormant energy of the body. It is called the “Sea of Chi.”
This point is located about .75 inches below the navel on the centerline and is used to help people who are very weak energetically to become revitalized.
This point is also called the “Central Palace” and is located approximately 1.5 inches below the collar bone. Lung 1 is used for the following: asthma, back pain, chest pain, respiratory disorders, shoulder pain, wheezing, and acute bronchitis.
Lung 1 regulates the lungs and strengthens the spleen. It is an important immune system point.
Called the “The Three Yin Intersection”, this point is where the liver, kidney and spleen meridians converge and is located 1.5 inches above the ankle at the posterior border of the tibia.
Spleen 6 helps to remedy many problems including poor digestion, poor appetite, edema, incontinence, knee pain, skin rashes and high blood pressure. It strengthens the spleen and stomach, balances the liver and invigorates the blood.
Large Intestine 4
Called the “Joining Valley”, it is located on the top of the hand between the first and second metacarpal bones (between the thumb and forefinger) in the valley. This is a major point for the large intestine and is used in combination with lung acupoints to help unblock your lungs.
It also helps with abdominal pain, headaches, colds, and respiratory disorders. It is an important point for remedying pain and strengthening immunity.
This point is also known as “Grease of the Envelope of the Heart.” Because it lies on your back and inside your shoulder blade you cannot reach this point for self-acupressure, therefore, you need a partner to access it.
You lie on your stomach with your arms by your sides. Your partner needs to pull your shoulder up exposing the inside of your shoulder blade. The point lies about 2 inches up from the bottom of the inside of the shoulder blade.
Bladder 43 is recognized as the most important point of the body and it is good for remedying tuberculosis, cough, asthma, poor appetite, emaciation and weakness, shoulder and back pain.
Stomach 36 is also known as the “Three Mile Point.” Apparently, in ancient times, the Chinese army put a nail in the boot of soldiers to stimulate this point to get an extra 3-mile march from the troops. It is found about 1.5 inches below the kneecap on the outside of the shin bone.
This point is known as one of the most important immune system points as it strengthens the blood and promotes general well-being in the body. It also strengthens the stomach, spleen and intestines, balances energy and blood, and stops pain.
Reflections on Stomach 36
Hong Kong researchers examined the efficacy of treating lung cancer with acupuncture and found the following. In many of the prescriptions, Stomach 36 played a significant role. Researchers concluded that “acupoint stimulation has a strong immunomodulatory effect for cancer patients.”¹
Before writing this article, I consulted with my teacher, Dr. Mario Wexu, who taught me Chinese massotherapy and acupressure. Dr. Wexu is a world-renowned acupuncturist and the son of the very famous Dr. Oscar Wexu who brought acupuncture to Montreal in the 1960s. Mario gave these points as his prescription for building immunity and he also suggested that for best results all of these should be done with a moxibustion heat treatment.
My recommendation is that readers should use acupressure only. Moxibustion is the application of heat from a moxa cigar or stick or paste, applied over the acupoints. Some practitioners use moxa to heat acupuncture needles by applying the paste on the head of the needle after insertion and lighting the moxa on fire. Others will put a slice of ginger on the point and a moxa cone on top and then light the moxa on fire.
Moxa is made from Mugwort and it burns at a very high temperature, therefore, you have to be very careful with it because it will burn the skin on contact. This is why a moxa treatment is applied above the acupoint above the skin. You also need proper ventilation because moxibustion produces a lot of smoke and a pungent herbal smell. By heating the acupoint you stimulate the energy.
For those of you who would like to do a safe and clean moxa-like treatment, I have found a safe cheap alternative. You can purchase a device called Therapik from amazon.ca for around $15. This device is typically used to introduce heat treatment for mosquito bites but is also a good substitute for moxibustion.
Studies on acupressure and moxibustion
In a systematic review and meta-analysis done in China, researchers found that moxibustion applied to acupoints Conception Vessel 22, Bladder 13 and Conception Vessel 14 delivered very powerful results. They said the moxibustion, “showed evidence that acupoint application had a favourable immunomodulatory effect for childhood asthma.”²
Very often acupuncturists use a combination of points (aka as an acupuncture prescription). Many of these prescriptions date back over 2000 years to the beginnings of Chinese medicine. These prescriptions were handed down over generations by acupuncturists who found that they were effective.
In a study conducted in Portugal to test the efficacy of acupuncture and moxibustion on cancer patients, acupuncture was performed on the acupoints Liver 3, Stomach 36, Spleen 3, Gallbladder 39, Large Intestine 4, Pericardium 5, Triple Burner 5 and Lung 7. Moxibustion was applied to acupoints Small Intestine 6, Triple Burner 5, Stomach 32, and Conception Vessel 6.
‘Very often acupuncturists use a combination of points (aka as an acupuncture prescription)… These prescriptions were handed down over generations by acupuncturists who found that they were effective.’
Researchers concluded, “Firstly, we observed (1) a reduction in anxiety, (2) consistent positive trends on the levels of WBC, ANC, and B and NK cells in the experimental group in comparison to controls… The acupuncture group showed an increase in NK cells compared to the control group. These preliminary results indicate an immunomodulatory effect in CRC patients undergoing chemotherapy.”³
How to do self-acupressure
Use your thumb to locate the point you want to work on. Apply pressure for 5 seconds, hold the point and rotate clockwise for 5 seconds and then release the point. Note how sensitive or painful the point is. Repeat the procedure 3 or 4 more times. As you apply acupressure and the point opens up it should become less sensitive and the pain should dissipate. Then move on to the next point.
If you are interested in finding out about simple acupressure prescriptions pick up the book Acupressure’s Potent Points by Michael Reed Gach. Dr. Gach also offers a new Acupressure Immune Boosting Online Course at Acupressure.com/immuneformula
Doing a Moxa treatment with the Therapik device
Point the device at the acupoint, push the button, the red light will go on. Shine the red light just off the skin and you will notice the heat. Do this until you just feel a little uncomfortable and then stop. Repeat the procedure 5 times.
Knowing self-acupressure is a powerful way of reinforcing your immunity. I have been able to use this to help myself and others with some very serious conditions over the many years. With a little bit of practice, you can learn this technique too and help yourself and your friends feel better and stronger.
- The Role of Acupoint Stimulation as an Adjunct Therapy for Lung Cancer: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis
Chen Hai Yong, Lis Shi Guang, Cho William CS, Zhang Jin Zang
BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine, 2013, 13:362
- The Immunomodulatory Effect of Acupoint Application for Childhood Asthma: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis
Yang Xia Cun, Yin Tao, Gao Qian, Kong Ling Jun
Evidence Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, Volume 2015
- Effects of Acupuncture on Leucopenia, Neutropenia, NK and B Cells in Cancer Patients: A Randomized Pilot Study
Pais Irene, Correla Nuno, Pimantel Isabel, Teles Marie Jose, Neves Esmeraldo, Vasconceles Julia, Grimarges Judite, Azevedo Nancy, Pinto Antonio Moreira, Machado Jorge, Effereth Thomas, Greten J Henry.
Evidence Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, Volume 2014
Feature image: Acupuncture Box from Pixabay
Other images: courtesy of Craig Cormack
Read also: other articles by Craig Cormack
Craig Cormack, BA, is a Chi Kung and Reiki master, a licensed Chinese Massotherapist, and senior Tai Chi instructor based in Montreal, Canada. He is presently working with seniors to help them stay healthy and keep their balance. He a principal at Rising Tao Integrative – risingtao.ca