There is limited research to support the use of pressure points to help a person heal. However, there is much more research about the use of acupuncture, which involves needles instead of just pressure.
Using pressure points is a noninvasive and relatively risk-free practice, so it is usually safe to use alongside doctor-recommended treatments.
Practitioners of acupressure and reflexology use pressure points in their healing treatments.
For people interested in reflexology or acupressure, the hands have many pressure points. Keep reading for more information on hand pressure points.
What are pressure points?
Pressure points are areas of the body that reflect the acupressure points used in traditional Chinese medicine. Traditional practitioners identified specific spots that they believed improved energy flow through the body.
People still practice these therapies today, though scientists have not studied their procedures and efficacy.
Hand pressure points
Reflexologists may use the following hand pressure points:
Located towards the edge of the palm, the lung meridian runs from the tip of the thumb down to just past the crease in the wrist.
According to reflexologists, rubbing any sore spot along this line can help relieve symptoms associated with a cold, including sneezing, chills, and a sore throat.
A person can find the heart 7 point on the wrist, just on the outside of a small bone that is in line with the little finger. The traditional name for this point translates to "Spirit Gate."
People who support the use of pressure points believe that applying pressure to heart 7 will prevent:
Inner gate point
The inner gate point is not directly on the hand. To find it, place the hand palm up and use three fingers to measure roughly an inch down the wrist.
The inner gate point is here, approximately in the center of the wrist.
Practitioners recommend using the thumb of the other hand to firmly massage this pressure point to relieve nausea and stomach pain. It may also help other digestive problems.
Hand valley point
A person can find the hand valley point between the first finger and the thumb.
Outer gate point
The outer gate point is almost parallel to the inner gate point on the top side of the hand and arm, between two tendons.
Proponents say that applying pressure here boosts a person's energy and bolsters the immune system.
Base of thumb point
A person can locate the base of thumb point by tracing a finger down the palm side of the thumb until they reach the wrist crease.
Reflexologists believe that applying gentle pressure to this point may help alleviate breathing issues and respiratory problems.
Small intestine 3
The small intestine 3 point is on the side of the hand just below the little finger and above one of the hand's large creases.
Some people claim that applying firm pressure to this point can help relieve earaches, headaches in the back of the head, and neck pain.
The tips of each finger are home to these ten pressure points.
A person can find the four seams on the inside of each of the large joints in the index finger, middle finger, ring finger, and little finger.
Proponents of acupressure believe that these points can help treat digestive problems, especially in children.
Do pressure points work?
There are not enough peer-reviewed studies on pressure points and their healing effects to establish whether they are useful. Most evidence comes from research on traditional medicine and anecdotal results.
A person curious to try acupressure or reflexology can do so safely. There are virtually no side effects from applying pressure to these areas except for localized temporary pain.
Also, a person should continue using any doctor-recommended medical treatments when trying pressure point therapy.
People who have previously had blood clots or have risk factors for blood clots should speak to their doctor before receiving acupressure or massage.
There are many pressure points in the hands, many of which are a part of a much larger chain of points that run up the arms. Proponents of acupressure and reflexology believe these points can help heal other parts of the body.
People can try doing acupressure on themselves or use the services of a licensed practitioner who has studied pressure points and understands how they work.
It is important to note that there are very few studies that support the use of pressure points to treat illnesses. However, people can safely use hand pressure points in addition to regular medical treatments.