When it comes to fighting pain, Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) offers a variety of therapies—some of which can be used as self-care.

For example, acupressure—in which pressure is applied with the fingers to acupoints (or “energy points”)—is a simple, effective alternative to acupuncture, a TCM therapy commonly used to treat pain. 

Two acupoints on the wrist—LU7 and LU9 (see below)—can help ease many types of chronic pain. 

What to do: Starting with the left wrist, apply pressure with your thumb or fingers to each point, for one to three minutes. The pressure should be firm but not painful. Repeat on the right wrist. Do this several times daily.

Important: It takes regular, long-term acupressure treatments to affect chronic pain—often for several months. Even though acupuncture is generally considered more “potent” than acupressure, the latter can be an effective and convenient self-treatment option.    


Harmful emotions, such as chronic anger, create stagnation of the liver, which controls the flow of blood and qi (vital energy) throughout the body.

For liver qi stagnation—one of the most common imbalances in Western societies contributing to chronic pain syndromes—use the acupressure points LV2, LV3 and LI4 (using the steps described above).

To help energize or activate these points, you also can put a drop of diluted essential oil (use one to two drops of essential oil in one teaspoon of carrier oil, such as olive oil or grapeseed oil) on the areas that correspond with the liver prior to each acupressure session. Fennel, marjoram and mandarin orange/tangerine essential oil all correspond to the liver acupuncture channel, and you can combine them or choose one that appeals to you. Note: If you have allergies, test a small amount of diluted essential oil on your wrist before using to make sure there is no reaction.

Credit: Excerpted from Natural Therapies for Overcoming Opioid Dependency © by Dr. Catherine Browne, illustrations by Ilona Sherratt, used with permission from Storey Publishing.

Source: Catherine Browne, DAOM, LAc, DipLAc, RH, a holistic practitioner in Harmony, North Carolina, who specializes in the treatment of pain, emotional imbalances and opioid dependency. She is a Doctor of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine, a licensed acupuncturist with the state of North Carolina, a nationally board-certified acupuncturist, and a professionally registered herbalist with the American Herbalist Guild. She is author of Natural Therapies for Overcoming Opioid Dependency: Control Pain and Recover from Addiction. InHarmonyWellnessClinic.com

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