Self-Care to Make the Pain Stop

Where do I press to make the pain stop? (Online resources for self-care.)

Self-Care to Make the Pain StopPhoto by Andre Hunter

Manual Self-Care Techniques to Make the Pain Stop

Know when to get help

[perfectpullquote align=”right” cite=”” link=”” color=”lightgrey” class=”” size=”28″]If you’ve experienced trauma or are experiencing new pain, please get it checked out.[/perfectpullquote]

If you’re experiencing a new pain or you recently experienced a trauma of which you’re not sure whether or not it’s related – please, get it checked out. It’s always better to be safe than sorry. I am a firm believer in having a wellness team, as our bodies are magic and complex – in my opinion, there is no one-size-fits-all modality for treating all conditions. Personally, I have a Reiki and massage therapist, non-force chiropractor, acupuncturist, herbalist, and naturopath all on my team. This doesn’t mean I/you have to see all of them, all the time. It means when you have an issue crop up, you know whom to see to give you the best results for your needs in that moment.

Make the Pain Stop with Acupressure

That all said, here are some awesome tools to work with once you know it’s safe to do so! Presto Pain Go is an online resource for selecting acupressure points for self-massage, to relieve pain.  Simply select the part of your body in which you’re experiencing pain (done by picture), then press where indicated. Photos with ‘x-ray vision of the bone’ make it easy to use. This is one of the safer options for self-care. (Note to self: You can also use a tuning fork instead of your fingers or other tool.)

Make the Pain Stop with Trigger Point Release

The online “Trigger Point & Referred Pain Guide” is another invaluable resource if you want to click on where it hurts to see probable muscular suspects. It takes a certain amount of caution and finesse to release these ‘knots’ but it’s so worth it once you do! (Note to self: Depending on where you’re treating you can use anything from a child’s 25 cent rubber ball, to a tennis ball, lacrosse ball, or specialized tool.)

Because of the possible risks of releasing trigger points when done improperly, I encourage you to discuss this with a medical provider first before trying. For more information on the subject, I recommend Davies’ book, “The Trigger Point Therapy Workbook: Your Self-Treatment Guide for Pain Relief.”

Holographic Mapping - Auricular Hip
Acupuncture, Self-Care

Acupuncture Holographic Mapping for Treating Body Pain

“Chinese medicine recognizes that the human body functions like a hologram because every microsystem found in different parts of the body contains the information needed to treat the whole body. In fact, studies… suggest that this information is stored in each and every part of the body.” – Steve Phillips, LAc

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Holographic Mapping - Auricular HipHolographic Mapping in Auricular Acupuncture

Seeing and treating the body as a hologram is one of my favorite things about acupuncture. There are a number of well-known microsystems that allow acupuncturists to treat the whole of the body through holographic mapping at the face, ear, hands, etc. Of these, auricular acupuncture happens to be one of my favorite systems to use. Auricular acupuncture is the treating of the body through the holographic mapping on the ear. I love this system because there are so many maps for the body on the ear, with different ones not only coming from individual specialists within China, but also from France and Germany!

Acupuncture Holographic Mapping of the Hip

To see what I mean by “holographing mapping,” check out this excellent video put together by  Dean Mouscher, LAc. Here he shows how the hip maps to the face and the ear. I absolutely love the beauty of these body mirrors:

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[wproto_divider style=”gap”]What if you don’t like needles?

The best part to me about auricular acupuncture is you don’t need to use needles to stimulate these points. You can also use “ear seeds” (actual vaccaria seeds) or metal pellets held in place by a very small adhesive. The seed or pellet itself is about 2mm, and the adhesive not unlike a clear or colored bandaid (~4mm).

In the case of the seed, a person simply massages the point by pressing and rolling the seed against the acupoint. This gentle stimulation is enhanced when you move the affected body part at the same time. For the metals, the property of the metal itself is enough to stimulate the acupoint according to treatment principle. We often use gold for tonification, and silver for sedation. I’ve found just knowing which part of the ear matches what part of the body can be enough to help relieve a temporarily stiff neck or sore back. All it takes is a little ear massage with your own fingers!

Want to learn more? Come on in — I’d love to show you how using holographic mapping can help you!

Acupuncture, Self-Care

Acupressure and Foods to Treat Morning Sickness

 Acupressure for Morning Sickness

Self-Care for Morning Sickness

Thankfully, Chinese medicine has quite a bit to say about treating nausea. (Did you know it’s so effective, most insurances reimburse for acupuncture treatment of morning sickness and nausea from chemotherapy?) Some of my favorite points to use with moms during pregnancy include:

Ren-22 (天突, Celestial Chimney)

This point is located at the very base of the throat, just above the sternum.

Pericardium-6 (內關, Inner Gate)

Use your one hand to locate this point on the opposite arm. You’ll find the point between two major tendons roughly 2 inches up from the wrist crease on the inside of the forearm. The exact distance equals the width of your index, middle and rings fingers when measured across the knuckles furthest from the body.

Kidney-6 (照海, Shining Sea)

You’ll find this point in a depression just under the high point of the ankle bone on the inside of the foot.

How to Do Acupressure

It’s best to see your acupuncturist first to ensure you’re stimulating the correct point. Once you’ve got it, you’ll want to stimulate both sides. Massage gently at the point for a few minutes, using your intention to imagine you and your baby coming into harmony and alignment. Imagine all stress being released with the out breath and support coming in on the in breath. You can even couple with an affirmations like, “I love knowing my baby and I are safe.” “Every day it becomes easier to trust the process of life.” “Everything in my life takes place in perfect timing.”

foods to clear heat: watermelonFoods to Reduce Morning Sickness

Beyond self-acupressure, foods are, of course, the most effective home remedy for morning sickness. I encourage you to read the article from Karen Hurd as to why pulses (aka beans) are your best friend right now. In Chinese medicine, we have largely two patterns that fit the symptom of morning sickness. One is Spleen-Stomach deficiency (see: “Deficiency” column in table); and the other of Liver heat or stagnancy overacting on the Stomach (see: “Excess” column in table). Your acupuncturist/herbalist should be able to tell you which category better suits your needs if it’s not readily apparent to you looking at the below presentations.

Spleen-Stomach Deficiency

Symptoms of deficiency include vomiting of watery fluids (may have undigested food, no particular smell or taste), poor appetite, and fatigue.

Liver Excess Overacting on Stomach

Symptoms of Liver excess include vomiting with bitter or sour taste, sour belching, strong thirst, a feeling of restriction through the side ribs, headaches (largely one-sided), dizziness and irritability.

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Need more help?

If you need more help in getting relief, consider coming in for acupuncture. In addition to treating nausea and vomiting, acupuncture can also help relieve back pain, headaches, insomnia and depression during pregnancy.


How to treat jet lag with acupuncture
Acupuncture, Self-Care

How to Treat Jet Lag with Acupuncture / Acupressure

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Can acupuncture really treat jet lag?

Ever since I heard it, I’ve been fascinated with the idea that acupuncture or acupressure could treat jet lag. It’s not something they taught us in school while I was there; but as I’ve talked to other colleagues over the years, I’ve heard a number of folks say, “Yes, unequivocally, this protocol can treat jet lag successfully!”. So, I was excited to see an article recently posted by local Chinese master herbalist (and acupuncturist), Cindy Micleu, on the subject: Using Acupuncture to Eliminate Jet Lag.

What’s the theory?

In Chinese medicine, we believe the energy of the body circulates through each of the organs and their respective channels throughout the day; and the energy peaks for each organ during a two-hour window. When we travel through time zones the body’s energy has to catch up or slow down accordingly to match the adjusted time schedule. Hence, we tend to feel awful until we do! With acupuncture or acupressure, we can stimulate certain points (known as horary points) in the body to direct energy where it needs to be, when it needs to be there. Doing so encourages the body to reset its internal clock. How cool is that?

Where are the points?

Acupuncture to treat jet lagFor exact point locations, click on the hyperlink below (or the easiest thing is, ask your acupuncturist!):

  • 1-3a: Dadun (LIV1)
  • 3-5a: Jingqu (LU8)
  • 5-7a: Shangyang (LI1)
  • 7-9a: Zusanli (ST36)
  • 9-11a: Taibai (SP3)
  • 11a-1p: Shaofu (H8)
  • 1-3p: Yanggu (SI5)
  • 3-5p: Zutonggu (UB66)
  • 5-7p: Yingu (K10)
  • 7-9p: Laogong (P8)
  • 9-11p: Zhigou (SJ6)
  • 11p-1a: Zulinqi (GB41)

How do I stimulate them?

Matching the time on your watch to the time at your destination, you’ll stimulate the matching horary point (see map above) on both sides of the body with either acupuncture needles or acupressure. If needles, insert, stimulate and retain for 5-7 minutes. If acupressure, apply 5 short bursts of pressure using something like a capped ballpoint pen, repeated 5-6 times on each side (total of 25-30 bursts on each point per 2-hour period).

For more information, read Cindy’s great article!

Have you tried it?

What happened? Let us know in the comments!