Acupressure for Arthritis: Soothing Joint Pain and Supporting a Healthy Back

Acupressure for Arthritis: Soothing Joint Pain and Supporting a Healthy Back


Do you have arthritis? Acupressure can help you! It’s an old practice that uses special points on your body to help it heal and reduce pain. In this article, we’ll discuss the great benefits of acupressure for arthritis. We’ll also explain how you can use it to manage joint pain and stiffness. Let’s begin!

Definition of Acupressure

Acupressure is a centuries-old healing art. It uses finger pressure to target specific points in the body for therapeutic purposes. Acupressure is part of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). It is often confused with acupuncture, which also follows TCM principles, but uses needles instead of fingers.

Unlike conventional medicine, acupressure does not try to suppress symptoms. It works by stimulating the body’s natural healing process. It is believed that stimulating acupressure points can help balance the flow of qi (energy) throughout the body. That helps correct patterns of disharmony, which are thought to cause illness and pain.

Qi energy flows along 20 main acupressure pathways in the body. Each pathway links to an organ system. Applying pressure on certain points along these pathways helps restore balance in the body’s energy, and reduce ailments such as arthritis.

Benefits of Acupressure

Acupressure is an old, simple way of stimulating the body’s healing. It can be used to treat arthritis pain instead of physical therapy or medicines.

Benefits of acupressure are more than just reducing pain. It increases blood circulation, increases flexibility, and reduces inflammation in arthritic conditions. Acupressure influences the physical and mental. So, it has a better effect on health than simply treating symptoms.

When used regularly, it reduces arthritis pain and maintains joint health by improving blood flow and balance in the body. There are specific points to reduce pain from arthritis, muscle spasms, lower back injuries or sprains/strains.

Combined with deep breathing and stretching exercises, regular acupressure sessions can reduce inflammation related to autoimmune diseases like rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis, while improving comfort in affected joints.

Acupressure Points for Arthritis

Acupressure has been used for centuries to treat numerous issues, such as headaches and joint pain. You may have heard of acupressure for arthritis specifically. What points are used for this holistic therapy? Let’s discuss them!

We’ll cover the acupressure points used to treat arthritis. Plus, learn how to use them to take advantage of this natural healing method.

Large Intestine 4

LI4 is located between the thumb and index finger on the hand’s back. It’s important for arthritis, targeting two meridians: Large Intestine and Urinary Bladder. Both sides of the body must be worked.

It helps to unblock the large intestine and let Qi and Blood flow. This reduces pain from all types of arthritic conditions in the area. It mainly reduces inflammation in joints and muscles. This makes it great for relieving lower and upper back pain too. Pressing it regularly throughout the day helps stiffness and aching muscles.

To increase LI4 pressure:

  • Use your thumb or knuckles.
  • Rotate them lightly against the point.
  • Hold it longer.
  • Add circular movements while pressing firmly on each side simultaneously.

Bladder 10

BL10 is found at the back of the neck, in the tiny dip between the two major muscles that control head movements. It’s useful for tackling joint issues related to arthritis, as it has an effect on pain caused by many sorts of joint inflammation.

To massage this acupressure point:

  • Put your thumbs on the base of your skull, where the neck meets the shoulders, on either side. Wrap your four fingers around and behind each side of your neck, with a loose grip.
  • Push out and up towards the base of your skull with your thumbs for 30-60 seconds. No discomfort – just deep pressure with no pain.
  • As you keep doing this massage, you might feel an increased sensation as blocked energy begins to disappear. This point can also be stimulated with an electro-stimulation device used by an experienced acupuncturist or masseuse. However, self-massage can give great results after consistent use.

Gallbladder 34

Gallbladder 34 (GB34) is an acupressure point. It’s below the kneecap on the side of the leg. It helps relieve joint pain from arthritis. It can reduce inflammation and back pain symptoms too. When you trigger it, GB34 can release energy and move blood flow. This supports and relieves joint pain, stiffness, and tension.

To locate GB34 (Yanglingquan), have the person stand with legs apart. Measure four fingers from the kneecap. Press firmly until a point of tenderness is felt. Apply pressure for up to three minutes, breathing deeply. Then, release the pressure. Place the non-dominant hand over GB34. Use the dominant hand to apply pressure. This technique promotes a feeling of connectedness between body and mind.

Acupressure Techniques

Acupressure is an ancient Chinese practice. It’s used to lessen arthritis pain. It applies pressure to certain parts of the body. This encourages energy flow and improves circulation.

There are several acupressure techniques that can assist in relieving joint pain and improving posture. Let’s explore these in more detail:

Finger Pressure

Finger pressure is key in acupressure. It reduces tension and helps energy move better. It can also target pain from arthritis and other joint conditions. It can give relief and relax muscles and joints.

To use finger pressure for relief, hold one finger with your thumb and forefinger. Move these in circles over the affected area with gentle but firm pressure. Increase pressure for a deeper massage. This can help with aching joints, stress and headaches.

You can use finger pressure anywhere. Special areas are good for inflammation or stiffness from arthritis. These include:

  • Behind ears
  • Temples
  • Forehead
  • Scalp line
  • Shoulders
  • Arms
  • Spine
  • Back of thighs
  • Knee joints
  • Feet

With practice, you will be able to feel each area better. This helps focus circulation and metabolism in connective tissues while improving movement in joints and muscles.

Hand Pressure

Hand pressure is an acupressure technique. You apply pressure to points with your fingertips, knuckles, palms, or thumbs. The pressure can be light, firm, or deep. Listen to your body and only use as much pressure as is comfortable.

Hand pressure helps relieve localized and more general pains. It activates nerves that support healthy joint mobility. It reduces pain and stiffness over time. Plus, it improves circulation and lymph drainage in the joints.


Massage is an old form of acupressure. It is still used by Chinese medicine practitioners. It reduces tension and relaxes muscles. Techniques such as kneading, squeezing, pushing, and thumb pressure can help improve sleep, reduce stress, and treat chronic pain.

Before a massage, it’s important to note the area needing treatment. This is based on stiffness, pressure, and blocks. The practitioner should choose the correct massage points for that area. Some areas may be more sensitive.

Common massage techniques used in acupressure are kneading, squeezing, pushing, and thumb pressure. Different styles can be used depending on individual needs. Trigger point release often uses pressure with hands or fingertips. It is also done by circular rubbing and “rocking”.

Additional Tips

Want some extra ways to use acupressure for joint and back health? Here we look at various techniques. We’ll discover which spots to press, the pressure needed and how long to do it for. Grab a pen and paper, let’s get started!

Stretching Exercises

Stretching exercises are key for managing arthritis pain. Stretching can help muscle support joint movement, providing better coordination and balance while also reducing the risk of injury. It also reduces stiffness in joints, improves flexibility and boosts range of motion.

Before starting, discuss stretching with your healthcare provider. Warm-ups and correct breathing can help protect your joints. Warm-ups can be light aerobic activities or gentle arm and leg movements for 5-10 minutes. When stretching, take deep slow breaths from the abdomen – not shallow ones.

  • Always start gently, slowly increasing range with each repetition.
  • Avoid jerky movements and don’t overstretch.
  • Hold each stretch for 15-30 seconds, no longer than 60.
  • Move slowly along with a steady flow.
  • Pay attention to what you feel within your body.

Regular stretching can boost range of motion in areas with swelling or scar tissue, and also reduce pain.

Heat Therapy

Heat therapy is often recommended for those with arthritis, as it can provide a soothing feeling. It relaxes muscles, makes the body less stiff, reduces swelling, and increases movement.

Heat therapy exists in many forms, tailored to the individual:

  • Heating pads or wraps
  • Warm baths or spas
  • Saunas and steam rooms
  • Paraffin wax treatments
  • Infrared light therapy
  • Short-wave diathermy

It’s wise to talk to a doctor first before trying these methods. Always be safe and don’t burn the skin. Start with 20 mins, then adjust as needed. Use heat packs two times daily. Make sure it’s comfortable, never too hot. Pressure heat bags are available at most pharmacies.


Add foods containing anti-inflammatory properties to your diet to help reduce arthritis-related joint symptoms. Strategies include:

  • Eating more fruits, veggies and whole grains. They contain antioxidants that may reduce pain.
  • Eating fatty fish like salmon, tuna and mackerel. These contain omega-3 fatty acids which reduce joint inflammation.
  • Eating foods rich in vitamin C, such as oranges and strawberries, to reduce joint inflammation.
  • Replacing sugary processed foods with healthier options like nuts or fruits for extra vitamins and minerals.

If you’re not sure which dietary choices will work best, consult a registered dietitian or nutritionist who knows about arthritis management.


Acupressure can be a useful solution for those with joint pain from arthritis. It is essential to be consistent and patient in order to experience its benefits.

These can include reducing swelling, relieving stress, supporting the spine, soothing sore joints, improving blood flow, aiding restful sleep, and overall well-being.

Besides helping to relieve joint pain, acupressure can also work to stop further injury or damage by maintaining joint mobility. With the right knowledge and skill, acupressure can help you find new healing energy within yourself and lead to better physical health.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is acupressure and how does it help arthritis?

Acupressure is an ancient healing technique that involves applying pressure to specific points on the body to relieve pain and promote healing. When applied to arthritis, acupressure can help soothe joint pain and inflammation, reduce stiffness, and improve mobility.

2. What are the benefits of using acupressure for arthritis?

The benefits of acupressure for arthritis include reducing pain, stiffness and inflammation, improving joint mobility and flexibility, reducing stress and anxiety, and improving overall quality of life.

3. How is acupressure different from acupuncture?

Acupressure involves using fingers, hands or other tools to apply pressure to the body’s acupoints, while acupuncture involves inserting thin needles into the skin to stimulate these points. Both techniques are based on the principles of traditional Chinese medicine and aim to restore balance and harmony in the body.

4. Are there any risks associated with using acupressure for arthritis?

Acupressure is generally considered safe when performed by a trained therapist or practitioner. However, it may not be suitable for everyone, particularly those with certain medical conditions or who are pregnant. It’s always important to consult with your doctor before starting any new treatment.

5. Can acupressure be used for other types of pain?

Yes, acupressure can be used to relieve pain in other parts of the body, including headaches, back pain, menstrual cramps, and more. It can also be used to promote relaxation, reduce stress and anxiety, and improve overall health and wellbeing.

6. How often should I receive acupressure treatments for arthritis?

The frequency of acupressure treatments will depend on the severity of your arthritis, as well as your individual needs and preferences. Some people may benefit from daily or weekly treatments, while others may only need treatments every few weeks or months. Your acupressure therapist can work with you to develop a personalized treatment plan.

the back recovery program by alex larsson
Jane Smith is a natural health enthusiast on a mission to uncover effective methods for achieving pain-free living. Through her personal journey with chronic back pain, she has become well-versed in holistic approaches such as yoga, Pilates, and essential oils.

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