Acupressure – Daily Self-Massage

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It was probably at least 15 years ago I walked into an oriental type outfitted booth at a large flea market that I found a very interesting green colored book by a Dr. Kuan Hin called Chinese Massage and Acupressure. It intrigued me right away and I picked it up. Being a martial artist and interested in health, massage, acupuncture and the like I started reading the first few pages.

The book delves in to the basics of Chinese Medicine, massage and acupressure, which is also called Inhoa. Inhoa means Silver Flower, and specifically is the name given by Dr. Hins’ ancestors to the method of preventing or healing that has been handed down from generation to generation.  What really got me interested is that this field is ideal for an introduction to self-treatment with regards to both preserving and restoring one’s health. I am a firm believer that we should take responsibility for all aspects of our lives and that especially includes our health.

In this respect I read that it required only rudimentary knowledge and no kind of equipment and is entirely safe… sounded good to me! The basis for using this healing art is the regulation of the energy flows that occur throughout the body.  Energy is life’s fuel and it nourishes us. So when damage is done, this can impede the flow leading to an energy imbalance which can set off disorders and ultimately cause disease.

Prevention, I found out is the very core of Chinese medicine. It is also effective in treating acute or chronic conditions as well. There is not enough room to go into much more detail here (and honestly I would be doing it a disservice if I did), but I started using the Inhoa acupressure massage techniques, or The eight wonders of Chinese massage as put forth in the book that first day I brought it home.

Inhoa book

What really intrigued me the most as I flipped through it, was that it gave a great introduction and background into this amazing healing art, how and why it works in theory, and was full of practical pictures and applications which I could use right away… and yet it was concise and not overwhelming. This was especially true of the primary acupunture points or the 12 points of Master Ma that are covered and the corresponding meridians and effects.

I to this day practice the self-massage (or dry baths as they are also called) every morning upon waking after I do my warm up exercises and stretches and also do a shorter session before I go to bed. The interesting thing I find is that it helps to wake my body up so to speak in the morning and at night it relaxes me and helps me fall to sleep. If I don’t do them which happens on occasion unfortunately, I actually feel the difference and not quite right.  It has become an enjoyable ritual for me.

These dry baths help boost the immune system because they stimulate the circulation of the blood and ensure proper irrigation of the organs.  I’ll massage various different acupoints through out the day as needed. I especially like to administer acupressure on myself to help relieve stress and generally to promote a sense of well-being.

This is done usually by pressing in and massaging with my fingers steadily in clock-wise and counter-clockwise motions. Acupressure is in a sense, acupunture with out the needles. It is not as precise and effective but a great tool nonetheless and can still have far reaching effects. I can actually feel the energetic difference in each specific area I press and with time you become better and more sensitive to it.

I will include here one of my favorite massages mentioned in the book – The Massage of the Gushing Spring or Yongquan. It is the name given to the first acupoint on the kidney-meridian running from the sole of the foot along the inner side of the leg over the belly to end under the shoulder blade. This point has many uses both preventative and therapeutic that extend far beyond the local area. It prevents nephitis and strengthens the liver and eyes. It relieves abdominal pains, combats coughing, hoarseness and sore throat and has a sedative effect in case of palpitations or distress.

For our massage purposes, we use the gushing spring to activate the circulation of the blood and prevent vascular disorders including cramps in the calves.  It is especially good to promote circulation for cold feet. After I massage this point I feel a release throughout my foot and a general sense of well-being. I highly recommend also massaging the entire bottom of the foot using an upward pressing motion up from the heel to the balls of the foot to enhance the massage. Here is the illustration from the book:

gushing spring2


We will touch more upon other acupressure and massage techniques in the future.  I encourage you to look further into using self-massage techniques and acupressure if you haven’t already done so.  Maybe you can add another healthy ritual in to your day like I did… it is truly a  great way to enhance your health and become more in tune with your body.