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5 Self-treatment strategies using your hands

Press technique Clive Witham

A simple massage technique is to use your thumb to press while slightly rotating it in a circular motion. Make sure that the thumb stays on the designated point and that pressure is maintained. You can also press in a forward motion with your thumb and continually move along a line or muscle.

Note: Be careful not to massage or press on or around open wounds, growths, nodules, inflamed or infected skin, sites of recent surgery, or areas where a broken bone is suspected.

Common conditions and their treatment points and areas:


High Blood Pressure

Massaging the tips of all the fingers can help with some of the symptoms of high blood pressure. Other places to massage include the middle area of the wrist joint (palm side), the "Head Zone," as described above for headaches, and the hypertension and dizziness areas, which cover the proximal finger bone of the middle finger (palm side).



The metacarpal bone, which spans down the back of the hand below the middle finger, represents the spine and can be separated into three parts. The Cervical Zone is around the knuckle; the Thoracic Zone covers the middle area; and the Lumbar Zone is closer to the wrist.


These areas can be massaged, especially if there is any soreness, to bring relief to a backache. Also, give some attention to the Kidney Point, which is at the crease of the distal joint on the palm side of the little finger.



Treatment for depression often includes trying to reduce tension in the muscles around the chest, so the Chest and Respiratory Zone, which covers the thenar eminence muscles at the base of the thumb (palm side), is a great place to massage.


Follow the gap between the little and ring fingers down and imagine the line continuing into the hand, up to the thick crease that runs across your hand—commonly called the “heart line” in palm reading. This area is known as the “essence area” and is connected to the heart. Oriental medicine sees depression as a problem of both the heart and mind.  



The Head Zone is on the palm side near where the middle finger joins the hand. It is a good place to start with a massage. Other points depend where the headache is. The point for the temples is on the back of the ring finger, slightly on the outside of the proximal finger joint; the spot for the back of the head is in the same position but on the little finger; pain in the top of the head and the forehead may be eased by targeting the middle and index fingers, respectively, both more on the thumb side of the finger.

Hand acupressure points Clive Witham Guide
Hand acupressure points Clive Witham
High bloodpressure



Tiredness usually affects the whole body, so the areas to massage include many of the main organs in Oriental medicine. They include the heart, pericardium, large intestine, and lung areas on the distal finger bones of the little, ring, middle, and index fingers, respectively. Also try the essence area, as described under "Depression," above, and the digestive organ zone, which is on the palm of the hand, slightly on the thumb side of the lifeline crease as it heads down to the wrist.

The Book of Oriental Medicine
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