Acupressure & Qigong: Part III

Welcome to my blog and Part III of my Five Part Series on Acupressure and Qigong! Today we'll discuss how qigong and acupressure can be used to help manage pain with a specific emphasis on lower back and knee pain. Let’s get started.

Acupuncture in Seattle, Dr. Fred Russo

Complimentary Systems for Pain Management

Today we get to address a topic that strikes close to home for many of us: pain management. While the last few blog posts have been fundamental in helping to demonstrate the basic underpinnings of both Acupressure and Qigong, today we get to start putting some of those concepts into practice.

As you may have already gathered from the past few posts, qigong and acupressure are very similar traditions, often crossing over and intersecting with one another. As you will see later on in this article, sometimes the terms are even used interchangeably. At the end of the day, though, terminology is not what matters most:

what matters most is understanding that your body is a holistic system of energetic interactions and that, given even just a little bit of time and practice, the relationship between your energetic and physical bodies can be intentionally cultivated so as to enhance overall health and wellness.

Within this framework of understanding, we can begin to see acupressure and qigong not as separate treatments but rather as complimentary systems for pain management. Today we’ll use two examples of physical pain that are familiar to most of us: back pain and knee pain. We’ll explore qigong and acupressure exercises relevant to both.

 
Acupuncture for Back Pain, Dr. Fred Russo

Qigong for Pain

Earlier, we defined qigong as the intentional cultivation of vital energy. Today we’ll learn more about what that looks like in real life. I’m going to do this by introducing you to two very simple exercises: one that can be used to help relieve lower back pain, and another than can be used to help relieve knee pain.

QIGONG FOR LOWER BACK PAIN. This very simple exercise is appropriate for just about anyone regardless of age and requires very little space. Click on the button below these instructions to see a video demonstration.

  • Start by standing with your feet about shoulder-width apart, arms at your sides. Be sure to choose a location that is free of obstruction within a 3-foot radius of your body.
  • Next, we want to make sure that your knees are not locked, so bend ever-so-slightly at the knees until your stance feels “squishy” or even slightly “bouncy”.
  • Now take a deep breath in through the nose. As you exhale very slowly, relax your shoulders and your arms as completely as possible. Let your arms dangle at your sides, heavy and floppy and limber.
  • Let your pelvis rock slightly forward, allowing your tailbone to “tuck in” under your pelvic region. Think of this as angling your tailbone to point straight down into the earth, effectively elongating your spine and deepening your stance.
  • Finally, swivel at the hips left to right - first to one side, then to the other. Your arms should follow this motion, sluggishly swinging from one side of your body to the other.
  • Continue this motion, breathing deeply and normally as long as it remains comfortable to do so or until your lower back pain has dissipated.

QIGONG FOR KNEE PAIN. This exercise is appropriate for all ages and is best practiced while seated. Click on the button below these instructions to see a video demonstration.

  • Start by finding a comfortable seated position and then rubbing your hands together for a minimum of one minute to generate heat and energy (chi) in the palms.
  • Next, place your hands about 4-6" from the knee on either side of the knee, palms facing in toward the knee. Pretend you're holding a ball of energy with your knee at the center of it.
  • Move your hands in a clockwise motion completing 3 full circular movements, then duplicate this motion in a counterclockwise direction.
  • Come back to your "ball of energy" and then use the tips of your fingertips to tap all around the knee. If your knee or fingertips are too sensitive to sustain this action, then you can use the flat of your hands (your palms) to "tap" all around and behind the knee.
  • Finally, rub your hands together again for 10-15 seconds and finish by simply massaging the knee with your palms, using steady pressure and circular movements to massage the areas all around and behind the knee.
  • Duplicate this sequence on the other knee, and don’t forget to “re-charge” your hands by starting at Step One and rubbing them together for at least one minute before proceeding..
 
Traditional Chinese Medicine in Seattle, Dr. Fred Russo

Acupressure for Pain

Earlier, we reviewed acupressure as a means of releasing energetic blockages in order to restore the body to a natural state of health and balance. Today we’ll learn more about what that looks like in actual practice. As with qigong, I’m going to do this by introducing you to two very simple exercises: one that can be used to help relieve back pain, and another than can be used to help relieve knee pain.

ACUPRESSURE FOR BACK PAIN. This simple exercise is appropriate for all ages and can be practiced standing, seated, or while lying flat on your back. Click on the button below these instructions to see a video demonstration.

  • In this video, I'll show you how massaging acupressure points on the ear (also commonly referred to as reflexology points) can help to relieve upper, middle, and lower back pain. This exercise is incredibly pragmatic and can be applied just about anywhere.

ACUPRESSURE FOR KNEE PAIN. This simple exercise is appropriate for all ages and can be practiced standing or seated. Click on the button below these instructions to see a video demonstration.

  • In this video, I will show you how massaging acupressure points in and around your elbow can help to relieve pain in your knees. Skeptical? You're not the first! Just watch the video and then give it a try for yourself - you're in for a very pleasant surprise.
 

Other Common Pains

As you can see, both qigong and acupressure can be very easy to learn and practical to apply. The exercises are suitable to people of all ages and, in many cases, can be performed just about anywhere. But these examples are just the tip of the iceberg.

Other types of pain that have been relieved by application of acupressure and qigong include: Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, Joint Pain, Hip Pain, Chronic Neck and Shoulder Pain, Muscle Pain, Fibromyalgia, Sciatica Pain, and more.

To learn more about how to relieve common aches and pains, schedule an appointment by clicking on the button below. I can’t wait to meet you!