Healing Kitchen

Acupressure for Asthma


Whenever your asthma is particularly bothersome, try doing acupressure self-massage. Many of my patients report significant relief using this technique. You'll also find that doing acupressure can be very relaxing. Before beginning, read a description of the General Acupressure Technique.



The acupressure points that I prefer to use for asthma are described below. Massage one or all of the points depending on your symptoms. Revisit the points you massage, allowing at least 20 minutes for the total treatment.


  1. To relieve head congestion: Press both GB20 points at once. These two points are located in the hollow between the front and back neck muscles, in back of the bony prominence behind the ear (see Illustration A). Press them simultaneously using your index fingers. These points are also good for relieving tension in the shoulders and neck.                                                                           
  2. To ease breathing and relieve coughing: Press the BL13 points, one at a time. To find the left-hand point (see Illustration B), reach your right hand over your left shoulder and, using your right middle finger, press a point between the tip of your shoulder blade and your spine. The point is about two finger widths away from the spine, level with the 3rd and 4th thoracic vertebrae. To find the right-hand point (see Illustration B), reach your left hand over your right shoulder and press the corresponding point with your left middle finger. After an asthma attack, stimulating these points will strengthen and energize your lungs. If necessary, ask a friend to help you press these points, since they may be somewhat hard to reach.                                                 
  3. To relax the chest and clear the lungs: Press the BL23 points. These two points are located two finger widths from the spine, level with the 2nd and 3rd lumbar vertebrae, which are just below waist level (see Illustration B). Place your hands at your waist and press one point (or both points simultaneously) using your thumbs.                                                           
  4. To loosen mucus, clear the respiratory tract, and help breathing: Press CV17. This point is located in the middle of the breastbone, on a line between the nipples (see Illustration C). Women must imagine where their nipples would be if their breasts were totally flat (like a man's). Press the point with one of your middle fingers. For added benefit, stimulate this point while also pressing one of the BL13 points (see above).                                                  
  5. To strengthen the chest and lungs, and relieve fatigue and stress: Press ST36 on each leg. This point is four finger widths below the kneecap, outside the shinbone (see Illustration D). To get maximum pressure, wrap both hands around your upper calf, place one thumb on the point and the second thumb on top of the first thumb, and press. Repeat with the other leg. This point is considered one of the most powerful on the body, strengthening the entire body and restoring the immune system.                                                     
  6. To relieve head congestion: Press LI4 on each hand. This point is on the back of the hand, in the web between the thumb and index finger (see illustration E). Press the point with your thumb. Repeat with the other hand. Caution: Never use this point during pregnancy because it may induce labor.





To do acupressure, you'll need to use your index finger, middle finger, or thumb or, occasionally, those on both hands.

  1. First, gently explore the indicated area (see illustrations) until you find a slight indentation. This is the acupressure point. (There are usually small nerves and sensitive muscles or blood-vessel groups at acupressure points.)
  2. Next, press the point firmly and steadily, using both direct pressure and/or a circular motion, for about 30 seconds until you feel a dull ache that spreads around the area. (If there is a painful "knot" in a muscle at the acupressure point, the muscle will slowly relax and you should feel the change in about 30 seconds.)
  3. Keep up the pressure for another 30 to 60 seconds. When you release the pressure, you will feel the dull ache for a short while more.
  4. Move on to another point or points in the treatment zone for your ailment.
  5. "Revisit" the points as many times as possible.

For more information, see the WholeHealthMD Reference Library entry on acupressure. 

Date Published: 02/08/2006
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