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Do you suffer from chronic constipation?  Or have some times when you’re not so regular?  In addition to eating a balanced diet with fiber (cut down on sweets), getting exercise and drinking plenty of water, try these acu-points.

You can try any one, or go through all of them.  Especially if you have chronic constipation, spending 5 minutes every day holding these points can be helpful. Sit in a comfortable position, and pay attention to your breath — deep and slow — while you hold the points.

Hoku, Large Intestine 4

LI4 demo1  This is considered the number one point for dealing with constipation.  You can experiment with the length of time and the strength of the holding.  Try rubbing in a circular motion, palpating it, even thumping it with a knuckle.  The length of time you need to hold it to feel its effectiveness will vary by person.  Try both hands, and be sure to take breaks so that the hand that’s holding doesn’t get tired.  Get detailed instructions here. NOTE: Do not use this point on pregnant women.

Crooked Pond, Large Intestine 11

LI11 hold

This point doesn’t require much pressure.  Rub this point in a circular motion, and you may feel relief during an uncomfortable bowel movement.  Get detailed instructions here.

Hara

This is a couple fingers width below your bellybutton, where you “belly” is.  This is considered your “center”, the place from which you find balance.  So imagine the unbalance when you’re constipated or otherwise uncomfortable in your digestive system.  Just putting some attention to the hara can bring comfort.  Gently rest the palm of your hand on your belly, and breathe slowly and deeply.  Try gentle clockwise circles around your hara, too, to support movement in your bowels.  Get detailed instructions here.

Name: Crooked Pond (Large Intestine 11)

This point on the crease of your bent elbow, helps address constipation , intestinal discomfort from diarrhea and cramping, fever, sore throat, and elbow issues. It’s also helpful in balancing the immune system.

Location: Bend your arm and look at the crease by your elbow. The point is at the end of the crease, closer to your elbow. See where the red dot is in photo below.LI11 dot As with all acupressure points except the ones that run down the center of your body, this point is bilateral, which means it’s found on both arms.

To hold: Cradle your elbow with your other hand, and use your thumb to hold this point. You can lightly touch it, or massage with a firm touch, in a clockwise motion. Try just one arm, or both, if it’s comfortable. Remember to keep your shoulders and arms relaxed.

LI11 hold

If you have constipation or intestinal discomfort, you may feel relief quickly; the clockwise rubbing might work especially well.

For fever and general immune system balancing, lightly touch the point and hold for a few minutes, as long as it’s comfortable. You can do this several times a day.

For elbow issues, be gentle, but firm as long as it’s not painful.

You are encouraged you to seek the advice of a qualified health care provider for questions about a medical condition.

A month ago, I talked with a man in my building who complained about many months of feeling poorly. A couple of hours after eating, he would get a stomache and then a headache. It didn’t matter what he ate. This would always happen.

I was not surprised to hear that he got both a stomache AND a headache, because in Traditional Chinese Medicine, issues with digestion and headaches are connected. I told this man that I practice acupressure and showed him the HOKU acupressure point, which is on the Large Intestine meridian. He said he felt immediately relaxation and a decrease in his headache.

Yesterday, I ran into him again and he looked great. Apparently a Chinese herbalist had turned him onto Po Chai Pills, which I just researched and learned is an herbal blend in small pill size that address symptoms of indigestion, diarrhea, vomiting… While my neighbor’s pills were the “original” brand from Hong Kong, it seems that po chai pill may be a generally used name for herbal supplement remedies for stomachaches.

His stomachache swent away, and so did his headaches. He carries a vial of Po Chai in his shirt pocket.

So, next time you have a headache, pay attention and see if your stomach is upset. Did you eat something unusual? Or does a regular headache correlate to a regular digestive discomfort?

I’m not trained in herbs, so I encourage you to check with a trained practitioner, if you are considering adding them to your own Healthy Intentions Toolkit.

Warning: Do not use this point on pregnant women.


Name: Hoku or Joining of the Valleys (Large Intestine 4)LI4 point

Location: On the top of the hand, on the web where the thumb and the index finger meet. (See the red dot on the hand in the photo.)LI4 demo1
To hold: Squeeze the point by putting your thumb on the point, and your index finger on the palm side of your hand. Make small circular motions with your thumb until you feel the point; it is tender on many people.LI4 demo2Make sure that the hand that is holding the point is relaxed. The demo photo above shows you how to hold the point, but the hands are a little tense; the second photo, on the right, shows you the hands relaxed, which is how you want to do it.

Hold for 10 or 15 seconds initially, until you figure out what works for you. You can hold for a few minutes, but make sure that the holding hand does not get tense or tired out. Release gently if you feel any acute pain.

This is a wonderful point. It is effective for relieving so many discomforts, including headaches, constipation, insomnia, stress, shoulder and neck tension.

You are encouraged you to seek the advice of a qualified health care provider for questions about a medical condition.