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Sep 25

Pointing the Way – Stiff Neck

Recently, I woke up with a stiff neck from sleeping “funny”. It was one of those bothersome and painful stiff necks where you had to do head checks in the car with your whole body!

However, Chinese Medicine came to the rescue! There is an acupuncture point called “Luo Zhen”, which translates as “fall off pillow”, which I suppose is what may have happened.

The point is located in a small depression on the back of your hand just past the knuckles of the index and middle finger. It can be found by sliding a finger from between those two knuckles towards the wrist and your finger will drop into it.

Luo Zhen Acupuncture Point

To use this point effectively:

  • Locate the point on the opposite side of the pain. For example, if the right side of your neck hurts, press the Luo Zhen point on the left hand.
  • Press firmly with the tip of a finger into the depression of the point so that you feel a tender sensation. I find I get the best pressure by using the tip of my thumb.
  • Maintain the pressure whilst rubbing in small circles on the point.
  • Whilst pressing the point, turn your head from side to side and you will notice that with time, the amount you can turn increases and the amount of pain decreases.

For me, it took a couple of minutes and I could really notice the difference. I have heard that it may take longer for other people so keep persisting!

 

Sep 13

Pointing the Way: Hayfever

It is definitely lovely to be seeing growth abound in nature at the moment, but for 1 in 5 of the Australian population, this may be accompanied by a groan because it marks the start of the “hayfever season”.

Hayfever, also known as seasonal allergic rhinitis, occurs in people who have a hypersensitive reaction to pollens. It causes symptoms including itchy and runny nose, nasal congestion, red, watery and itchy eyes, itchy throat and sneezing. It can affect concentration and productivity, as well as sleep quality, causing hayfever sufferers to get tired and run down.

In Chinese Medicine, airborne pathogens are caused by “Wind” and if our defensive energy, “Wei Qi”, which is essentially our immune system, is functioning well, we are not affected by the Wind and will not have hayfever. What Chinese Medicine can do is strengthen the Wei Qi before the hayfever season begins, reducing the severity of the symptoms and over several seasons, the symptoms can be eradicated altogether! However, having acupuncture and Chinese herbs during the season can still decrease the intensity of the symptoms.

The following are a few acupoints you can use on yourself when you’re feeling some of the woes that are hayfever! Press each point for 30 seconds, relax the face and breathe deeply. The points, when being pressed correctly, should feel a bit achey.

BL2 (Zanzhu “Gathered Bamboo”): A small bony depression at the end of your eyebrow (your “bamboo”) near the bridge of your nose.

BL2 Zanzhu
ST2 (Sibai “Four Whites”): A small bony depression below the pupil, found by placing your finger on the bottom edge of the eye socket and slipping the finger down slightly.

ST2 Sibai
LI20 (Yingxiang “Welcome Fragrance”): Slightly sidewards from your nostrils and pushing up towards the bridge of your nose (for some welcome fragrance).

LI20 Yingxiang
LI4 (Hegu “Joining Valley”): On the back of your hand between your thumb and index finger (the valley), found by bringing the thumb to the index finger and pressing towards the index finger into the high point of the muscle bulge.

LI4 Hegu
Your challenge, should you choose to accept it, is to press BL2, ST2 and LI20, all at the same time on both sides, whilst getting that good ache!

 

 

 

 

Aug 11

Pointing the Way: Insomnia

About 1 in 10 people have at least a moderate level of insomnia. Most people just live with it but over time, their body doesn’t get the recovery that it would normally get during sleep and their memory, concentration and health worsen. I believe that getting a good night’s sleep is one of the keys to good health, so here is something you can do to improve your sleep.

The World Health Organisation acknowledges that insomnia can be treated successfully with acupuncture. A commonly used point to treat insomnia is “Anmian”, which translates into “Peaceful Sleep”. In Chinese Medicine, when you are unable to sleep, it is considered that your “spirit is not housed properly” and this acupuncture point can help to settle it again by “calming the spirit”. You can use pressure on this point to create this effect.

To find this point, immediately behind the ear near the earlobe, there is a small rounded bit of bone which points downwards called the “mastoid process”. Place your finger on the protruding part of the bone, let it slip backwards and it will slip into a depression. From here, slide the finger diagonally up and back about one centimetre towards the base of your skull. This point is Anmian.

HN-54 Anmian

Place your finger or thumb on Anmian and apply circular pressure slightly upward under the skull, circling 100 times. You should have a deep aching feeling and a feeling of relaxation.

In Chinese Medicine, there are a number of causes of disturbance of the spirit resulting in insomnia, which are treated with acupuncture, herbs, and diet and lifestyle advice, but pressing this point can provide you with some relief.