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Hand reflexology for hangover, stomachache and nausea

It's the first Monday after Christmas of 2009. I know a lot of people had a lot of fun going to parties. We eat and drink a lot during holidays without enough care for our stomach. Hangovers after parties are even more annoying. Last post was about acupressure for stomachache. Like usual, I often include reflexology for the same health issue in the next article. This time the reflexive area can heal hangover, stomachache and nausea.

Sometimes we see people who look exhausted in the office and then we'll wonder if they worked really late the night before or they had to social with clients until late night, or even just hangover from the party the night before. In the busy urban cities like New York, Shanghai, Hong Kong or Tokyo, you may occasionally see people ask around to see if there's any pain pills for stomach. A practitioner's friend always see this kind of issues. He's a pretty shy person. Even when the boss asks around to see if there's any medication for stomachache, he would be the last person who take it out with hesitation. It's not because he doesn't want to help, he just doesn't want people to think he's toady. This "lack of confidence" personality is making him stressed at work as well and got stomachache. The practitioner tell him to be more outgoing while healing his stomachache. He also told him stimulate the same reflexive area would help with hangover and nausea as well as stomach problems.

The other day the boss of this guy asked around for stomach pills again. This time, he walked to his boss and said, "Hey, I got some new solutions here for your hangover. Give me your hand if you don't mind." He used his thumb and massaged his boss's hand's convex area under the thumb in the palm for 2-3 minutes. Suddenly his boss said, "ouch, that kinda hurts." Then he responded and couldn't believe he said that, "if it's painful, that means your stomach is not doing very well." With more massage, his boss started to look relieved. Looks like the stomach discomfort is gone. He told his boss, "Do you feel better now? Sometimes massage that area yourself and you'll certainly feel better."

Since then, this guy got more confidence and are more willing to talk to other co-workers. Holding the hand of his boss built a communication bridge between them. Even his boss probably think it's a good thing that this guy broke his wall and started to reach out.

Anyway, I heard that after a hangover, drink some lemon tea, plum tea, soup with MSG or more water will help. But to reduce the feeling of nausea, massage the reflexive area for the digestive system will definitely help. Strongly massage the area (See diagram) with your thumb and also stimulate around that area. If you can't do massage for long because of work, clip that area with a big clip can work too.



Hand Acupressure for stomachache and gastritis


It's been a while haven't talked about acupressure. This time we will talk about a very common health problem among people, especially busy people - stomachache. (I used to spell stomache but I finally figured out there's no such word.) There are many kinds of stomachache, some are hidden pain deep inside the stomach, some are acute pain gastritis. Some even happen suddenly while we're walking or working that make us sweat. Most of them are caused by acute gastritis or so-called "Stomach cramps."

Acute gastritis is a sudden inflammation of the lining of the stomach accompanied by pain. Reasons can vary from eating and drinking too much, food poisoning or medicine poisoning, to  symptom of a disease that comes with fever. Sometimes extreme nervousness can cause gastritis as well.

Anyway, when pain occurs, calm  down first and the pain should relieve a bit eventually, but it won't disappear - that's the major symptom of gastritis. So, acupressure would be a good way to kill the pain.

For sudden acute gastritis pain, first stimulate the stomach acupoint on the palm. (see diagram) This acupoint is the intersection where the "lifeline" and a vertical line drawn between the middle finger and ringer finger. The name of stomach acupoint in Chinese actually means the acupoint for the whole digestive system. So when gastritis occurs, we need to stimulate a little harder on that spot. Tie 5 toothpicks up and strongly stimulate that acupoint without hurting the skin. Usually after 10-15 times of stimulation the pain should start to relieve. If not, just continue.

"Luo Ling Wu" on the back of the hand is another acupoint for stomach, between the knuckles of middle finger and index finger. (See diagram) Same stimulation using toothpicks just like applying to stomach acupoint above.

The difference between stimulating "Luo Ling Wu" and "Stomach Acupoint" is that "Stomach Acupoint" works better for stomachache or gastritis caused by overeating, while "Luo Ling Wu" is more effective for stomachache caused by nervousness.



Techniques of foot acupressure

This post is a continuation of the introduction of foot acupressure from last post. The techniques of foot acupressure is pretty much the same as hand acupressure. Just more techniques for tougher and bigger reflexive area on foot.  Let's have some revisions here. One thing to remember is that do not apply foot acupressure when you have fever, nausea, pregnancy and some disease that really needs a doctor to take care of.

Ways of stimulation:

1. Thumb acupressure – use your whorled surface of thumb to rub or massage the reflexive area and acupoints. There are two ways to massage, one is direct press, another is press and rub around the acupoint with the thumb tip. The method depends on what kind of illnesses. Usually press and count 1, 2, 3 and release, press  and count 1, 2, 3 and release, repeat for as long as needed for different case.  The strength of massage is usually hard, but some illness can’t take too much stimulation.  You can also use your thumb tip or finger knuckle and apply pressure gradually to the reflexive areas and acupoints. Rubbing will be pressure applied to the reflexive area with a circular motion. If it's for pain relief, acupressure can be applied until that pain is relieved or until the acupoints or reflexive area turned red or heated up.

2. Cigarette moxibustion – use a lighted cigarette or the Chinese medical moxibustion to approach the acupoints for heating stimulation. Be sure not to burn the skin. Horizontally held cigarette is actually better then pointing the acupoints vertically. Make sure you don’t burn your skin, 5mm distance should be close enough. Approach, and then away. Repeat 7-15 times. Depends on what kind of illnesses, sometimes we’ll have to do it every day. Note that we never do this after shower or a bath.

3. Toothpick/pointy device – this is to replace the acupuncture needle while this gives a stronger stimulation then acupressure or cigarette. It’s easier to use a bunch of toothpicks (5-10) for stimulation because normally we’re not that accurate pointing to the acupoints. Although we don’t want to hurt our skin, feeling pain and stimulation during the process is important. Otherwise it’s not going to be effective. Usually 1, 2 press, 3, 4 away, 1, 2 press, 3, 4 away, keep repeating in this tempo. First timer can try like 10 times.

4. Various devices for bigger areas - Other than the above techniques, rubbing the reflexive areas with brush, comb, toothbrush, or use a hair dryer to heat up the areas can work too.


Introduction of Foot Acupressure – Reflexology


About a month ago I posted about 12+2 meridians or channels carrying Qi and Blood Flow, and the 365 major acupoints (or acupuncture points, or "xue dao" in Mandarin). About two weeks ago I talked about hand acupressure and some techniques for healing some common illness like toothache, diarrhea or motion sickness through massaging the reflexive area or the stimulating certain acupoints. Before I list more different illnesses that can be healed through the hands, I decided to introduce foot acupressure as well, so I have both to talk about later.

The therapy on feet are actually the same on the hands. The healing based on the stimulation of the reflexive areas (or reflecting areas, reflective areas....whatever they're called in English) is called reflexology. Usually stimulations include massage, acupuncture, acupressure, moxabustion etc. The purpose is to adjust the function of internal organs and enhance the flow of Qi and blood through the meridians. Basically I kinda talked about all these in the introduction of hand acupressure.

There are about 20% of major acupoints on our feet and legs. Massaging these areas and stimulating those points not only can cure common illness like headache or toothache, even high blood pressure, heart disease and diabetes these serious diseases can be controlled and relieved. Foot or hand acupressure therapy doesn't have any side effects and always safe. Not just the hands, feet work as a forecast for our health as well.

When we're done with exercises, massaging our legs and feet not only help us to avoid the sore, we're actually helping the internal organs and Yin Yang balance as well. Foot acupressure can be done by ourselves without others help, anywhere and anytime we like.

I bought a "carpet with rocks" which is actually made for foot acupressure therapy. Walking on this carpet is painful, but it's also a nice therapy for our health. If you walk on some little stones and you find your feet really painful, that means your health is just so-so. If you feel ok, that means you're quite healthy. I'll try to post the photo of this thing I bought and talk about this later. Also I'll talk about the techniques of massage on foot as well.

(Sources: Diagram from