What does it feel like getting “into the flow?” You know, those times when you don’t feel you’re swimming upstream, but instead you’re just moving freely in your life? Inside of you, there are natural flows of energy that can help you feel good – or that can contribute to you feeling stuck.

Acupressure is a tool that you can use to help the energy in your body get “unstuck” when you are feeling sluggish or having pain or stress.

Acupressure is a form of massage that uses points on the body identified in Traditional East Asian Medicine (TEAM) as acupuncture points. According to TEAM concepts, acupuncture points are along meridians in the body where energy flows. At times, the energy flow gets blocked in the meridians leading to pain or other symptoms. By applying pressure to an acupuncture point, the blockage may loosen and begin to flow again.

Taking a moment to stop and rub the areas taught in this video can help relieve stress and encourage free flow of energy coursing through your body. And it feels good. Once you learn an acupressure routine, it’s always available for you to use, and all you need are your own hands. Self-care doesn’t have to take a long time, but the benefits of taking a break to help you are priceless.

When using acupressure, simply press or massage the acupressure point(s) for about 30 seconds. Use an amount of pressure that feels comfortable without being painful. The next time you experience stress and you notice your heart rate increasing, consider doing the following five acupressure points (in the video below). You can use these acupressure points several times a day to help reduce stress.

This acupressure video is not intended to replace any medical treatment and should be used in conjunction with your regular care. If you are uncertain if this routine is good for you, talk with your health care provider before beginning.

Join Acupuncturist Erika Marie from the Kansas City VAMC for a chance to experience acupressure for stress relief.

In addition to acupressure, which is an excellent self-care tool, VA offers acupuncture by licensed clinicians for conditions where it can be effective. Acupuncture is often associated with pain management, but it is also may be useful for other conditions, and the number of research studies showing the benefits of acupuncture is growing. Acupuncture may be effective as a stand-alone treatment or as an additional treatment along with other medical care. Learn more here: Acupuncture – Whole Health (va.gov).

By Juli Olson, DACM, DC, is the national lead for Acupuncture at VHA’s Integrative Health Coordinating Center

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Published on Nov. 1, 2021

Estimated reading time is 2.1 min.

Views to date: 812


  1. Andy Alzamora November 4, 2021 at 9:40 pm

    Hi, my name is Andy former Marine and now licensed acupuncturist. Here’s one more acupressure point for upper trap pain (this one is located on the side of the knee. )
    1. While sitting in a chair find your knee joint. (it’s big, bony, and hard to miss)
    2. Place a finger or thumb on the inner side of your knee joint. (towards the midline of your body)
    3. While gently pressing your skin with your thumb or finger, begin to move in the direction towards the ground.
    4. Don’t go too far down (you only have to move about the width of your hand)
    5. Find a sensitive spot between the inner knee bone and the width of your hand and then massage.
    6. Again be gentle (this has a tendency to be really sensitive for a lot of people)
    This is a common point for relief of upper trap pain on the same side of the body, if around the salt lake valley and in need of acupuncture find me through my website. I wish you All the best!

  2. Robert November 4, 2021 at 7:24 pm

    Interesting that the VA is promoting Acupuncture, but yet is restricting my treatments.

  3. Edward Sieczka November 4, 2021 at 2:42 pm

    Don’t have any at the VA Manila Clinic.

  4. Gary L. Liss November 4, 2021 at 12:56 pm

    Started going to see my VA Acupuncturist over three years ago because she was both a chiropractor also and that is why I was originally referred to her. Of all of the wonderful doctors that I have seen at the VA she is the absolute best. Not only has she been very successfully treating me for the original malady but I have not even had a cold since I began seeing her.

  5. TARA CONCEPCION November 4, 2021 at 10:10 am

    I get acupuncture and it is the best tool for me to combat a multitude of conditions, I began going for migraine, back, & joint pain and now it has replaced 14 prescriptions I used to take and keeping menopausal symptoms at bay, especially night sweats. The only issue I have is getting my approvals in a timely manner to hopefully get to a place of normalcy, especially after having COVID. Please VA make this the treatment of us veterans instead of pill popping, it saves $$ and has zero side effects. Patients please know this isn’t a quick fix for more severe issues as I used to have it takes 6 months. I started on active duty paying out of pocket for visits and even now as I wait for more VA approvals. It’s worth every penny!!! For my fellow Memphians Dr. Amy Ly is the best!!!

  6. John B O'Brien November 3, 2021 at 11:44 pm

    I have a friend and colleague who went back to school after becoming Physician Assistant to learn acupuncture. She works in the VA system specializing in treating addiction issues. Highly effective, and safer than many “alternative” medical strategies like chronic medications including things like methadone, far less attractive than acupuncture. Oregon passed a law that you cannot get onto a methadone maintenance program unless you have had an “adequate trial” of auricular acupuncture. The law was passed since it was documented to be significantly cheaper than other strategies. This should be a federal mandate.

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