Have you ever massaged your feet at the end of a long day and felt instant relief or enjoyed the feeling of stepping on the protruding parts of your non-slip bath mat? If that’s the case, then you’ve been using acupressure without realizing it.
Foot acupressure has been used for millennia for its natural healing power and ability to restore well-being. Many practitioners recommend it combined with other therapies to relieve pain, ease muscle tension, and promote better overall health. The great thing about foot acupressure is that, while therapists can help fix a particular issue, it is also something you can practice at home. Are you intrigued?
In this article, we will highlight everything you need to know about foot acupressure.
What is Foot Acupressure?
Foot acupressure is an ancient healing art that has been paramount in traditional Chinese medicine for over 2000 years and is still one of the most popular healing alternative therapies in the world to this day. The method consists of using the fingers to apply pressure to key areas of the foot (called pressure points) to stimulate the body’s natural healing properties.
Indeed, according to the principles of traditional Chinese medicine, invisible channels (also called meridian pathways) run through the body, connecting your organs, and creating a communication network. It is believed that our life energy (referred to as Chi or Qi) runs within these meridian pathways. A blocked Chi at any point on a meridian pathway can cause health conditions. That’s where foot acupressure comes in to play.
Acupressure points are located along these invisible channels where the energy (or Qi) carried by the meridian pathways rises close to the body’s surface. Applying gentle pressure on specific acupressure points on the foot can help release tension or heal parts of the body as it allows Qi to flow freely.
The Benefits of Foot Acupressure
Alleviates Pain and Reduces Migraines
When you apply gentle pressure to specific foot pressure points or simply massage your foot, you are activating your nervous system. When activated, the nervous system releases feel-good chemicals, such as endorphins, alleviating pain and boosting your energy levels. Numerous studies have even shown the effectiveness of acupressure when it comes to pain management and tension relief.
Applying pressure to specific pressure points can help reduce headaches, backaches, relieve foot pain such as plantar fasciitis, and work wonders for people suffering from recurring migraines.
As a result, when used in conjunction with other holistic forms of treatments, such as following a healthy diet and exercising regularly, foot acupressure can minimize pain and relieve migraines and headaches.
Relieves Depression and Anxiety
Used for centuries to fight anxiety and depression, foot acupressure’s health benefits have recently been backed by science.
Research has shown that foot acupressure can be useful in reducing anxiety and depression. One particular study revealed that foot acupressure helped alleviate anxiety for hemodialysis patients. Another one found that foot reflexology helped decrease anxiety and depression among women suffering from acute coronary syndrome while hospitalized.
Therefore, if you suffer from one of these conditions, foot acupressure might be a great way for you to reduce your symptoms without resorting to medicated treatments.
Note that regardless of whether you have any other conditions or not, the use of foot acupressure can prove useful to reduce your anxiety or depression.
Improves Blood Circulation
Our sedentary lifestyles mean that we spend more time than ever sitting and less time exercising and moving about. Therefore, massaging your foot or applying pressure to specific pressure points can help promote blood circulation.
By performing a ten-minute daily foot massage, you will stimulate blood flow to that part of the body and increase the level of oxygen being transported to your cells.
Promotes Better Sleep
According to the National Sleep Foundation, you should sleep between seven and nine hours per night. If you have insomnia or have trouble getting restful sleep, foot acupressure could prove helpful!
There are approximately 15,000 nerve endings in your feet alone. Therefore, when combined with other strategies, such as turning off all electronic devices and meditating before bed, applying pressure to specific pressure points can have a soothing and calming effect to help induce sleep.
One study has shown that the pressure point KD3, helped improve sleep quality in middle-aged and elderly adults.
Curious about how much sleep you may need to get a night? Here's an article by Sleep Advisor that provides a sleep calculator for you to easily track how much sleep you should be getting a night.
The Main Foot Acupressure Points
Great surge or LV3
Also known as Tai Chong, this pressure point is located in the valley between the big toe and the second toe, approximately 1-2 inches back from the toes and in the hollow just above the bone. Practitioners commonly use this pressure point to alleviate stress and anxiety, promote better sleep, and reduce lower back and menstrual pain.
Once you’ve located the LV3 point, use deep and firm pressure to massage and stimulate the area for up to 5 seconds, and repeat as needed.
Above tears or GB41
This pressure point is also called Zulinqi and sits between the fourth and fifth toes. Practitioners massage this area to reduce migraines and headaches. A recent study revealed that applying pressure to GB41 was more efficient at reducing chronic migraine than Botox injections or medication.
Moving point or LV2
This point is also called Xingjian and is located in the valley between your big toe and second toe. It is often used to help decrease pain in your jaw and face and improve liver function.
Great Ravine or KD3
Also called Taixi, the Great Ravine point is located on the inside of the foot along the kidney channel, halfway between the Achilles tendon and the tip of the ankle bone by the Malleolus.
Practitioners often use the KD3 point to relieve headaches, anxiety, and insomnia and improve kidney function.
Top 3 Foot Acupressure Tools
If you are interested in trying foot acupressure at home, there are specific tools to help you better target pressure points. Some of the best foot acupressure tools you can use at home include:
As mentioned before, massaging your feet is a great way to relieve muscle tension and alleviate foot pain.
Besides, foot massage rollers are specifically designed to stimulate specific pressure points and improve your overall well-being. As a result, using a foot massage roller such as the Theraflow can also help improve many other health conditions, such as relieving anxiety, headaches and promoting better sleep.
For the best results, make sure you use the roller for 10 minutes every day, moving your feet back and forth.
How about sitting in a comfortable chair at home and letting a high-performance machine take care of your feet?
Recommended by therapists and acupressure patients alike, this foot massaging machine has been engineered to help relieve muscle tension, foot and back pain and improve blood circulation at the touch of a button.
Indeed, this professional device features strategically located rotating acupressure heads designed to target your pressure points, soothing your feet and your body. It also has different foot massage vibration levels so that you can adjust the pressure to your needs.
An article listing some of the best acupressure tools to use at home wouldn’t be complete without mentioning the famous Byriver acupressure sandals. A favorite among people suffering from foot pain and anxiety or stress, these sandals feature natural stones and can be used while cooking at home or going about your chores at home. Every single one of the stones is designed to apply pressure to strategic pressure points and relieve pain and tension.
Note that this type of acupressure sandal can hurt when you first put them on, so start wearing them with socks for the first few weeks to ease your feet into them.
As highlighted throughout the article, foot acupressure is a natural way to alleviate migraines, back pain, relieve muscle tension, and treat health conditions such as insomnia, plantar fasciitis, or depression.