Use 3 simple acupressure points to enhance your digestion
Good digestion is the seat of a long life. Traditional Chinese medicine has long understood the importance of good digestion. One famous medical doctor from the 16th century named Yu Jia Yan wrote: “If the stomach is strong, life will be healthy; if the stomach is weak, life will be unhealthy.”1
At-home acupressure may help to support your immune system, sustain energy, and remedy a number of chronic digestive issues. Acupressure is optimally used with fermented foods and stimulating supplements — like LivAmend, helping to promote bile flow and elimination.
If the stomach is strong, a person has the ability to transform food into valuable nutrients that the body can use. If the digestive force is weak or blocked, the body will not receive the nutrients it needs or properly eliminate waste.
You may have heard of acupressure.
The philosophical and clinical roots of Chinese medicine did not have words for the enzymes, minerals, bacteria, and other catalysts that we now know to be an important part of the digestive process.
Nonetheless, modern medicine has found that acupuncture can effectively help regulate the digestive system and strengthen its ability to break down food, absorb nutrients, and eliminate waste.2,3
Chinese medicine understands the body as constantly balancing the opposing and interdependent forces of yin and yang, which are like the water and fire aspects of the body. This constant balancing act is expressed as qi (commonly spelled chi), translating to “energy.”
Each organ in the body has its own qi and follows a specific pathway. Much like a river running through the earth, qi runs through pathways in the body called meridians. Meridians are like rivers of qi in the body. Where the qi collects is called an acupoint. Stimulating these acupoints is called acupressure.
How to do acupressure on yourself:
- When applying pressure, begin lightly.
- Use four levels of pressure, gently pressing deeper each time.
- At the deepest level, massage the area in a circular motion.
When acupressure is combined with the right essential oil — we love Vibrant Blue Oils — the effect may be comparable to acupuncture. Many times, an acupuncturist will use essential oils on children or on patients who do not wish to be needled.
You can massage an essential oil directly into an acupoint. Or, after applying acupressure, place an essential oil directly on an acupoint.
3 soothing acupressure points to help regulate your digestion
1. Stomach 36.
- The acupoint known as Stomach 36 (ST-36) is also called Zu San Li, which means “leg three miles.” The name refers to the ability of this point to greatly strengthen energy so that a person can walk another three miles, even when exhausted.
- To locate: Slightly bend your leg and place four fingers just below the kneecap. Begin with the index finger at the base of the kneecap. The point is where the little finger rests, on the outside aspect of the hard shinbone. Feel around for the tender spot.
- This acupoint is believed to help support the immune system and help strengthen overall energy. It’s often used to help enhance weak digestion and improve digestive disorders, ranging from constipation to diarrhea, gas, bloating, vomiting, and nausea.3,4
Essential oils: Orange, neroli, or bergamont.
Caution: All of these oils can make the skin sensitive to sunlight and are phototoxic. Use only in the evening or when you plan to stay indoors.
Supplement: When your stomach is not digesting food properly, it’s critical to get the most bioavailable sources of nutrition. Body Ecology’s Vitality SuperGreen helps nourish your gastrointestinal tract. Vitality SuperGreen is made with L-glutamine, considered “the most important nutrient” to help heal leaky gut and rebuild the lining of the intestines.5
2. Ren 12.
- Ren is a channel where all the yin fluids of the body collect. Ren 12, also called Zhong Wan or “middle cavity,” is specifically where the energy of the stomach gathers. In Chinese medicine, the stomach is called the “sea of water and grain.” One of its principal functions is to transform water and grain into usable nutrients.
- To locate: Find your belly button and feel for the point where your ribs come together, where there will be a soft depression. If you draw a line from the point where your ribs meet to your belly button, Ren 12 is in the center of this line. In the chakra system, this relates to the solar plexus.
- This acupoint is believed to help remedy lack of appetite and indigestion. Excess emotion while eating, especially anger, can damage the function of the stomach. This acupoint may help relieve stomach upset that is related to emotions. It may also help alleviate fullness from overeating, gas, bloating, and acid regurgitation.1,6
Essential oils: Ginger. On sensitive skin, mix ginger essential oil with a carrier oil, such as jojoba.
Supplement: In addition to acupressure, digestive upset and acid regurgitation can often be alleviated with the addition of good bacteria in the form of fermented foods/beverages. Combining diet with acupressure is like two people coming together for a common goal. The effect can be more profound. Try drinking 4 ounces of Body Ecology InnergyBiotic three times a day. The good bacteria in a fermented beverage can often help calm down gas and bloating.
Here’s where you’ll find all of our refreshing probiotic power shots & mixers.
3. Stomach 25.
- Even though this acupoint is located on the stomach meridian, it’s where all the energy of the large intestine gathers and concentrates. The name for Stomach 25 (ST-25) is Tian Shu, which means “heaven’s pivot.” This acupoint is where the upper and lower gastrointestinal tract meet and relate to each other.
- To locate: Place three fingers parallel and alongside the center of the belly button. The point is at the edge of the last finger, three fingers away from the center of the belly button.
- Stomach 25 is believed to be especially useful in helping to alleviate constipation, diarrhea, and any other kind of intestinal disorder. Stimulating ST-25 may also move abdominal blood and may help address menstrual irregularities and ovarian dysfunction.7
Essential oils: Fennel or Frankincense. Try direct application. Or, mix a few drops of fennel or frankincense with a carrier oil. Coconut oil and apricot kernel oil are especially good choices.
Caution: If you are pregnant, avoid fennel essential oil.
With light pressure, massage around the belly button in small circles that move from right to left:
- Begin at ST-25 on the right side.
- Massage in small circles up towards Ren-12.
- Continue massaging in small circles, moving toward ST-25 on the left.
- Continue massaging in small circles to a place that is a couple of inches below the belly button.
- Complete the circle, and continue massaging in small circles until you reach ST-25 on the right side.
- Repeat for several minutes and breathe deeply.
Supplement: Body Ecology LivAmend is the ideal complement to ST-25 disharmony. It contains 50 mg of wasabi powder and also has extracts of artichoke, sarsaparilla, and milk thistle. These herbs help increase bile flow and improve bowel elimination. Adding sulfur-rich wasabi to your diet is one of the best ways to help support your body’s pathways of elimination, assist your immune system, and relieve inflammation.
- 1. Maciocia, Giovanni. The Foundations of Chinese Medicine: A Comprehensive Text. Elsevier, 2015.
- 2. Qin Y, Yi W, Lin S, Yang C, Zhuang Z. [Clinical effect of abdominal acupuncture for diarrhea irritable bowel syndrome]. Zhongguo Zhen Jiu. 2017 Dec 12;37(12):1265-8. Chinese. doi: 10.13703/j.0255-2930.2017.12.003. PMID: 29354989.
- 3. Li H, He T, Xu Q, et al. Acupuncture and regulation of gastrointestinal function. World J Gastroenterol. 2015;21(27):8304-8313. doi:10.3748/wjg.v21.i27.8304.
- 4. Chao HL, Miao SJ, Liu PF, Lee HH, Chen YM, Yao CT, Chou HL. The beneficial effect of ST-36 (Zusanli) acupressure on postoperative gastrointestinal function in patients with colorectal cancer. Oncol Nurs Forum. 2013 Mar;40(2):E61-8. doi: 10.1188/13.ONF.E61-E68. PMID: 23448746.
- 5. Rao R, Samak G. Role of Glutamine in Protection of Intestinal Epithelial Tight Junctions. J Epithel Biol Pharmacol. 2012;5(Suppl 1-M7):47-54. doi:10.2174/1875044301205010047.
- 6. Liu Q, Xia XZ, Xu XF & Qi YJ. (2013). The effect of acupuncture on reflux symptom and esophageal motility in cases of non-erosive reflux disease with dysmotility. Chongqing Medicine. 42(17).
- 7. Yang FX, Yang ZX. [“Thirteen acupoints for regulating menstruation and promoting pregnancy” for diminished ovarian reserve: a prospective cohort study]. Zhongguo Zhen Jiu. 2020 Jun 12;40(6):619-22. Chinese. doi: 10.13703/j.0255-2930.20190925-k0001. PMID: 32538013.