Acupressure for Digestion

In TCM theory, digestion represents the central axis which everything else revolves around. It provides our main source of (post-natal) energy from the breakdown and absorption of food. Even minor disruptions in this system can progress to significant and varied health problems.

Digestion Support: drawing of digestive tract with various grains

Treatment, of course, depends on the severity of the problem. As long as emergency situations are ruled out or addressed, one can turn to Chinese medicine for prevention, treatment, and maintenance.

The power of self-care can never be understated.

Acupressure is one of our best self-care tools when used appropriately. While the needles are generally considered a stronger approach to energy medicine than acupressure, acupressure alone has proven to be extremely beneficial. For example, in a study of 70 hemodialysis patients with constipation where acupressure was administered 3 times/week for 4 weeks, there was a significant improvement in bowel function.

So here are 3 Acupressure points for digestion you can try at home:

large intestine 4

LARGE INTESTINE 4, “union valley”

Location: fleshy (and often achy) depression between  the thumb and first finger

Use to: regulate intestinal function.

Stimulation of this point has been shown to both increase and decrease gastric motility depending on what’s needed.  So, it can be used for both constipation and diarrhea.

Black and white drawing of conception vessel 12 acupressure point

CONCEPTION VESSEL  12:  “middle controller”

Location: about 4 inches above navel

Use to: regulate stomach function, support energy

It has been shown to cause muscle relaxation via the somatosympathetic pathway. It inhibits gastric acid secretion which is extremely beneficial to GERD patients.

Stomach 36

STOMACH 36:  “3 mile leg”

Location: about 3 inches below knee cap and about 1 inch towards outer edge of leg

Use to: strengthen digestion, build blood and immunity

According to some studies, it may improve upper and lower abdominal symptoms by restoring impaired ‘slow waves’ of the digestive tract via the vagal pathway. Electroacupuncture on this channel has been shown to enhance gastric motility and blood flow by regulating hormones (such as motilin and somatostatin) that directly affect digestion.

Benefits have been shown to be intensity dependent, so massage these points as often as needed. Just be sure to get in for some acupuncture where we can give these points the extra attention they may need!  Call us or book your appointment online today!

Digest Ease

Digest Ease

A product we recommend for you to try is our Digest Ease! Digest Ease is an herbal boost for soups, teas, and bone broths. Useful in aiding indigestion, loose stools, acid reflux, IBS, nausea, diarrhea, obesity, and abdominal pain.


Check out this video of L.Ac. Kerry Boyle explaining how to perform acupressure!

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Congee Recipe

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