As promised, I’m going to start introducing some acupressure points that you can use at home for better health and wellbeing. Acupressure points are the same as acupuncture points, but instead of needles we stimulate the point with firm pressure, usually a thumb (though those of us who have had a Thai foot massage have probably experienced the acupressure poking stick!) Points are stimulated for a few minutes at a time. The exact location of acupuncture / acupressure points can vary from individual to individual, and even from day to day, so feel around for the most reactive point and go for gold!

Let’s start at the start!

An appropriate place to start is Kidney 1, the only channel point on the sole of the foot and in direct contact with the ground. The name of this point is Yong Quan, meaning “Gushing Spring” or “Bubbling Well”: this alludes to the Kidneys’ association with fluids and the Water element.

In Chinese Medicine, the Kidney channel and associated systems govern the brain, spine and organs of the lower abdomen (kidneys, bladder, prostate, reproductive organs, adrenal glands), while also having a bearing on knee and lumbar pain. And when we look at the anatomy and the foot, leg, pelvis and spine, we see that all of these areas of influence are in fact connected to the base of the foot by the fascia (the semi-conductive wrapping that surrounds all muscles, tendons, bones, organs, etc.). Therefore, Kidney 1 is a wonderful point to:

• calm yourself if feeling anxious, ungrounded, dizzy or light-headed.
• relax elevated blood pressure,
• cool hot flushes.
• quiet the mind and drop off to sleep.
• ease foot, leg and lower back pain.
• soak in the ocean.
• walk barefoot on sand or grass
• warm up with a foot bath (Epsom Salts are a bonus) or heat bag.

Keeping Kidney 1 and the whole foot warm is important for the optimal functioning of the organs ruled by the Kidneys. This has been borne out in research that shows that cooling the feet can directly trigger a urinary tract infection in susceptible individuals. Keeping the feet warm is also important for those suffering leg pain, swelling or arthritis. So keep your feet toasty, even though it might be tempting to walk barefoot on tiles or other cold surfaces at home (barefoot walks on the beach and grass are an exception!).