Acupressure to Improve Digestion

~ Jianmin (Jamie) Xu, Registered Acupuncturist

With Christmas approaching, it is the season of holiday cheer, family gatherings, parties, travel, shopping, cooking and cleaning. Many people cope with digestive disorders caused by holiday stress, not getting enough sleep, and overeating. Acupuncture is extremely effective at treating a vast array of digestive disorders such as acid reflux (GERD), distended belly, gas and bloating. Below are some tips on how to do acupressure on yourself to improve your digestive function.

Simple tips to get started:

1. Get into a comfortable position.
2. When applying pressure to an acupuncture point, use the fingertips of the thumb or middle finger.
3. Follow the order shown below, and spend 30 seconds on each point. Apply pressure while breathing steadily into your abdomen.
4. Begin lightly, then gently press with enough pressure to cause just a little discomfort.
5. At the deepest level, massage the area in a circular motion.

1. REN (CV) 12:

Ren-12 is specifically where the energy of the stomach gathers and collects. It strongly harmonises and strengthens stomach and spleen. One of its principle functions is to transform water and grain into usable nutrients.

To locate: On the front midline of the body, Ren12 is in the centre of the line from the point where your ribs meet to your umbilicus (belly button). Ren12 is used for lack of appetite and indigestion. This acupoint alleviates abdominal distension, stomach cramping, vomiting, constipation, diarrhea, bloating, and acid regurgitation. It can also relieve stomach upset that is related to emotions.

2. STOMACH (ST) 25:

ST 25 is where all the energy of the large intestine gathers and concentrates. This acupoint is where the upper and lower gastrointestinal tract meet and relate to each other.

To locate: Place three fingers parallel and alongside the centre of the umbilicus. The point is at the edge of the last finger, three fingers away from the centre of the umbilicus. Stimulating ST-25 can move abdominal blood and Qi, harmonize the stomach, and regulate the intestines. Stomach 25 is especially useful in alleviating abdominal pain, vomiting, constipation, diarrhea, peptic ulcers, and any other kind of intestinal disorder.


PC6 is an extremely popular and useful point. This point has a multitude of positive effects. It is an important distal point for the upper abdomen.

To locate: On the inside of the forearm, 3 finger widths away from the wrist, in the middle between the two tendons.
Stimulating PC-6 can regulate heart Qi, help with congestion and spasms in chest, harmonize the stomach, relieve nausea, vomiting and hiccups. It can also soothe tension, anxiety, and insomnia.

4. STOMACH (ST) 36:

ST-36 is known as one of the most important points to tonify Qi and blood. It can help to promote general wellness, and harmonize and strengthen the stomach.

To locate: Slightly bend your leg and place four fingers just below the kneecap. Begin with the index finger at the base of the kneecap. The point is where the little finger rests, on the outside of the shinbone.
ST-36 is often used to strengthen weak digestion and improve digestive disorders, ranging from abdominal pain to constipation, diarrhea, bloating, nausea and vomiting. This acupoint can also boost the immune system, and strengthen overall energy.

Fundamentals of Clinical Acupuncture