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October 2010
Acupressure for Arthritic Pain Management
Dr. Panchali Moitra
Arthritis is a rheumatic disease that can be really difficult to live with; as the pain is so unbearable, it practically immobilizes the person. Emotional stress, poor digestion, hormonal imbalance and ageing, accelerate changes in the joints, giving rise to an increase in pain and stiffness.

A holistic healing practice, acupressure has been practised since centuries as a potent arthritic pain management tool. Acupressure refers to the science of applying pressure to certain nerves or pressure points in the body to release toxins and eventually relieve pain. Unlike a similar field, acupuncture, where needles are pierced at sites, the acupressure technique is quite easy to learn and can even be practised at home with little experience. Stimulation of specific acupressure sites across the body improves the blood circulation, soothes the arthritic pain and also lessens the general discomfort associated with arthritis.

Acupressure for knee pain
  • Let the patient sit on a chair and bend the legs at 90 degrees. Measure two inches above the kneecap, towards the outside of the leg and press it fairly hard in rotational motion.
  • Used for knee injuries and pains, this point is present on the inner side of the folded knee, just at the end of the inner crease of the knee.
  • Another useful site is located at the back portion of the knee, exactly at the midpoint of the crease.
Acupressure for wrist-hand pain
  • Located midway between the bones of thumb and index finger, this point can be felt by closing the thumb and forefinger together. Notice the little mound that builds up at the back of the hand. The peak of this mound is the point to be pressed by the thumb of the other hand.
  • The second important point for joint pains is situated two finger-breadths above the wrist bone fold. Located towards the thumb side of the wrist, this pressure point must be pressed strongly with thumb or knuckles of the other hand.
Acupressure for ankle-foot pain
  • Locate the site by placing the thumb of the hand on the centre of the ankle crease, as one flexes the ankle.
  • The next point that must be stimulated to relieve ankle pain, is a tender point and must be pressed with care. This is located directly in front of the lowest level of the middle ankle bone (the round bone which protrudes from the ankle on the inner side).
  • The depression formed at the back of the medial malleolus or the protruding round ankle bone is yet another site.
Pressure sites and massage techniques must be initially applied by a qualified and experienced healer, and can later be learnt and practised at home by the arthritic patients.

Additionally, paying attention to one’s diet and exercise regime is a must. Increase intake of fresh fruits, whole grains, green vegetables, and fish; nuts like almonds and seeds like flax seeds to suppress arthritic pain. Arthritis may limit some of your activities; however it need not overpower your life. Think positive, accept the condition and learn to manage your pain instead of feeling depressed and helpless. It will surely help you lessen its impact on your life.
Dr. Panchali Moitra is a Nutrition Expert, Weight Management Consultant and specialist in Alternative Medicine

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