Duration: 30–45 minutes
Contraindications: Gallbladder (GB) 21 and Liver (LI) 4 are contraindicated for pregnancy.
Equipment and supplies needed:
Mood music or guided visualization
Aromatherapy sprays (optional)
Massage lotion or oil for shoulders and neck
Preparation: Drape massage table or facial bed with sheet. Use bath-sized towel for head, neck and shoulders. Ask the client to select mood music or guided visualization to listen to during the treatment, and discuss any issues that come up in the client questionnaire, which should have been completed before the treatment. Ask her to remove jewelry and upper clothing, and provide a drape; make sure she is comfortable and informed about what to expect during the treatment. Discuss the pressure she prefers for massage and acu-points—light, medium or firm.
Step 1: Begin with calming aromatherapy to soothe the nerves and quiet the mind. Ask the client to breathe deeply. Start with your hands over the eyes as you say a prayer of gratitude and invoke the power of healing.
Step 2: The bladder meridian (UB1—below and UB2—above) is related to the function and balance of the nervous system, because it runs parallel to the spinal column. UB2 is a good place to start, because it relieves nervous tension, allowing the client to relax into the treatment. It also helps blurred vision, redness and pain of the eye. Gently place your second fingers at the UB2 point and press according to your client’s preferred pressure. Hold for 10 seconds and release for five seconds. Repeat three times.
Step 3: Next, go to yin tang, located directly between the eyebrows. This calms and soothes, and is believed to improve intuition, mental focus and clarity. It has also been reported to help with headaches and insomnia, and to soften worry lines. Press and release this point three times and end by circling slowly with the pad of your second finger. Using slow and deliberate movements helps set the pace for relaxation.
Step 4: On to gallbladder (GB) 14—above the eyebrows and GB1—at the corner of the eyes. The gallbladder represents daring and decisiveness; think of the saying: “He has a lot of gall.” Decisiveness, courage and taking initiative are home to the gallbladder meridian. GB14 benefits the eyes and head, and relieves pain. GB1 helps to reduce headaches, redness, swelling and eye pain. You may apply more pressure on the brow bone. Use 3–4 fingers as you press above the brow bone from yin tang to GB14, where you should pause and press for 10 seconds before continuing to GB1 at the outer eye. Press and release GB1 three times.
Step 5: Next, slide fingers to the tai yang—the temples. This helps relieve tension, headaches, and eye and facial pain. Press and release with the pads of your fingers; end with three slow circles in a clockwise direction.
Step 6: On to san jiao (SJ) 21, located next to the supra tragus notch. SJ21 treats eye pain and swelling, ear discomfort and toothaches. This is the first of three points at the ears that together benefit the senses, calm the mind and release tension in the face—especially temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ)—that is believed to result from not verbalizing needs. Press three times and circle for approximately 10 seconds.
Step 7: Next, move to small intestine (SI) 19 at the ear, located next to the tragus within the depression formed when the mouth is open. Associated with the heart by fire energy, the small intestine controls the more basic emotions. Its energy meridian runs into the head, where it influences the function of the pituitary gland that governs the endocrine system. It is the second of three points that work well together. Typically, these points treat disorders of the eyes, ears, sinus, throat and jaw. Other benefits include increased blood flow to the mind, thereby helping to soothe anxiety, insomnia and restless thoughts. Press three times and circle for approximately 10 seconds.
Step 8: On to GB2 at the ear; the lower of three points located in front of the ear lobe. GB2 is the third of three points that are helpful in calming tension headaches and neck tightness. This point treats ear conditions, jaw pain, TMJ, and eye and mouth deviations. Press three times and circle for approximately 10 seconds.
Step 9: Next, cover the client’s ears and hold them. The ears contain acu-points for the entire body. Cupping the ears is comforting and soothing for the client. Hold for two minutes. Lift your hands off the ears and gently massage the entire ear. Move your fingers to press from SI19 at the ear and follow the zygomatic bone under the cheek until you reach stomach 3.
Step 10: On to sinus points that relieve sinus pain and congestion, beginning with stomach 3. The stomach is responsible for nourishing the entire system. Governed by earth energy, the stomach is responsible for extracting and balancing all five elemental energies from foods and fluids ingested through the mouth. Press and release three times.
Step 11: Next, to the second sinus point: bitong, which translates to “penetrating the nose.” Its main purpose is to benefit the health of the nose. Press and release three times.
Step 12: On to the final sinus point, large intestine (LI) 20. The large intestine’s role is to balance and purify bodily fluids, and assist the lungs in controlling the skin’s pores and perspiration. LI20 is good for clearing congestion by opening nasal passages. Press and release three times.
Step 13: Next, to DU20. The Chinese name for this point is baihui, meaning “hundred meetings.” This point is at the crown, or soft spot at the top of the skull. It is the only meeting point of all the yang meridians, including the liver channel, to help regulate yang and treat conditions such as dizziness, headache, sadness, disorientation and poor memory. Press and circle this spot for approximately a minute, alternating both thumbs at this point.
Step 14: On to kidney (KD) 27. The kidneys are considered to be the seat of courage and willpower. Impairment in kidney energy results in feelings of fear and paranoia. KD27 points are good for calming and relieving anxiety. Pressing here benefits the heart by opening energy flow to the chest caused by shallow breathing due to stress and/or palpitations. Use the pads of your thumbs to locate and press these points. Palpate the area until you find the indentation below the clavicle, midway to the sternum. Use more pressure here to ensure you stimulate the kidney meridian point.
Step 15: Next, to lung (LU) 1. The lungs circulate chi through the meridians. When energy moves, blood follows. Breathing controls cellular respiration, and influences the health and radiance of the skin. LU1 improves breathing and is helpful for calming anxiety, shortness of breath and asthma. This point may be a little more difficult to find, especially if your client has more skin or is large-busted. Move laterally from the kidney points toward the armpit. Once you are even with the outer clavicle, start pressing with your thumbs down toward the armpits until you feel an indentation approximately 2.5–3 inches from the clavicle. Press and release, and include this point during your massage. This spot may be sensitive to touch, which reflects an out-of-balance meridian.
Step 16: On to GB20 and GB21 and anmian. Massaging these points is great for relieving headaches and tension. Anmian (also at the back of the neck) translates to “peaceful sleep,” and helps with insomnia and calming the mind.
GB20 works well for the common cold, nasal congestion, headache, redness, swelling and eye pain. It also helps to release tightness and pain of the neck and shoulders, and reduces dizziness and vertigo. It clears the head, and benefits the eyes, nose and ears. Turn the client’s head to one side and massage firmly beneath the occipital ridge along the hairline to include the anmian point. Repeat on the other side. Massage along the occipital ridge to include the anmian point. GB21 relieves headache, dizziness, tightness, and pain of the neck and upper extremities. It also activates the GB meridian, promotes labor, benefits the breasts and resolves phlegm. This point is not safe for pregnant clients. Press and release this spot a few times until you feel a release in tension. You may alternate pressure here by massaging the upper shoulders, running the thumbs from the center of the back to the shoulder bones.
Step 17: The Du meridian, also known as governing meridian, and the Ren meridian, also known as the central meridian, are two vessels that act as storage or reservoir meridians that can receive or send energy to the other meridians. The Du meridian is yang and runs from the back of the anus straight up the spinal column, over the head and down the face to the point above the lip. Ren is yin and starts at the front of the anus and runs directly up the center of the body, ending on the indentation at the chin below the lips.
If a client needs more backbone to stand up for themselves, trace the du meridian three times from beginning to end. To provide a boost in energy, trace the ren meridian three times. You do not need to touch the body, only move your hand along the pathway from beginning to end three times or massage both du 26 and ren 24 meridian points at the same time during the massage treatment that follows.
Step 18: At this time you can perform a 10–15 minute massage with lotion and/or oil on the entire neck, shoulder and décolleté area. Be sure to include the acu-points throughout the massage for the most benefit to the client.
Step 19: Next, to heart (HT) 7. The heart meridian is considered to be the home of the spirit and rules the emotions. HT7 is the point to treat emotional issues, including excessive anxiety, worry, insomnia, clouded thinking and irritability. Press this point with your finger and release, repeating 3–4 times.
Step 20: And finally, on to LI4, the command point for the face and head. It helps to relieve headaches and sinus issues, and is helpful for circulation and blood flow to the face and head. This point is beneficial for facials because it opens the chi flow to the facial area, opening congestion and benefiting overall facial health. This point is not safe for pregnant clients. Pinch and massage this point with your thumb and forefinger.