Hesperian Health Guides

Acupressure Massage

Pressing on special ‘points’ on the body can help relieve some of the common health problems of women. These points come from an ancient Chinese way of healing called acupressure. Local healers may know other kinds of massage.

Use your own sense of how long and how often to press on these points (an average amount of time is 3 to 10 minutes). Many women feel tender at these points. If a point is very tender, be careful not to irritate it. If there is an injury, do not use acupressure in that area.

Sometimes there are several points to help the same problem. You can try all these points. If one seems tender or makes you feel better, focus on that point. If not, use all of the points in any order.

IMPORTANT! Pressing on some of these points can cause problems during pregnancy. If you are pregnant, watch for the warnings mentioned below.

General pain from monthly bleeding

(For more information, see 'Monthly Bleeding'.)

1. To help prevent general discomfort during monthly bleeding, such as sore breasts, feeling tired, and a full feeling in the lower abdomen:

a thumb pressing on the top of a foot, between the first and second toes
2. To lessen pain and cramps during monthly bleeding, firmly hold and massage the tender place on your hand you will find between your thumb and first finger. Pressing hard on this spot can ease many kinds of pain.
WWHND ChSk Page 546-2.png
You can also press on these points on the inside of the foot and leg.
dots showing pressure points above the knee, below the knee, above the ankle, and on the side of the foot; an arrow points to the dot above the ankle
But do not press too hard on this point or it will cause injury. Do not press on this point if a woman is pregnant. This point can cause labor to begin.

The following massage is also useful to relieve pain and 'cramps,' as well as signs of pre-menstrual syndrome (PMS).

Massage in between the toes, around the ankle bones, and up the ankles on the outside of the feet. Look for areas that are sensitive and massage these places longer. For a pregnant woman, do not massage the outside of the big toe, the arch or the middle of the bottom of the foot or above the outside of the ankle. It can make labor start.

Hand, wrist, and ear massage can also help with pain or signs of PMS.

Pregnancy and childbirth

(See the chapter on “Pregnancy and Childbirth.”)

pressure points described below: on the throat, shoulder, upper right-center abdomen, and inner side of the leg above the ankle

To relieve nausea
(morning sickness) press here
To help with a difficult or
painful birth press here
To help stop bleeding
after birth press here
To bring on labor, or to make a weak labor stronger press here


(See the chapter on “Growing Older.”) To help relieve general discomfort, press the following points about once a day for 10 minutes:

pressure points indicated below on the inner leg: upper shin, mid-calf, above the ankle, and side of the foot; pressure points on the earlobe and upper front of the outer ear

It can also help to press these points on the ear:

This page was updated:23 Oct 2019