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Acupressure is an ancient Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) art that can be thought of as “acupuncture without needles”. Acupressure stimulates or sedates points lying along the energy channels known as meridians, moving the energy, balancing the Chi, and relieving or preventing blockages and excesses that can cause discomfort, pain, and disease.

Meridians are energy pathways throughout the body. Qi (Chi) flows and circulates through these interconnected channels, transporting strength, nourishment, and healing properties. There are 12 major meridians that are associated with internal organ systems. They are each paired with another as “sister meridians”, one being the yin (tends to be the dense organs that store and transport substances) and the other the yang (tends to be the hollow organs that transport nutrients and body waste). The Yin meridians travel along the underside, and the Yang meridians flow along the top of the animal’s body. There are also eight Extraordinary Meridians that connect and collect Chi from the 12 major meridians.

Some Master Points

Large Intestine (LI) 4 – Master point for face, mouth, and head. It’s an important pain-reducing and immune system-building point. It’s located in the web of the dewclaw, if present. Make sure you’re only holding skin, or it will be painful.

Stomach (ST) 36- Master point for abdomen and GI tract. It’s below knee, outside edge of tibia in belly of muscle. It boosts general energy of body, relieves arthritis, increases circulation/strength for lower legs, and it’s a powerful point for spleen, pancreas, stomach, and digestion. It shouldn’t be used if a fever is present.

(Urinary) Bladder (BL) 40- Master point for lower back, hips, and hind end. It’s located in the Popliteal Fossa, on the back of the rear leg, behind the knee, in the depression in the middle of the crease of the knee. It reduces pain, stiffness, and constipation.

Some Key Points

Governing Vessel (GV) 26- below nose, above lip; for shock, consciousness, to revive

LI 11- in the elbow crease when flexed- an anti-inflammatory point. It’s good to use for pain relief, reducing fever, swelling, and diarrhea, and it benefits the immune system.

BL 60- “aspirin point”, located in depression at base of Achilles tendon, between tendon and ankle bone, in the skinny part of hock. It’s a pain reliever & relaxes muscles- Kidney (KI) 3 is on the other side, the inside- where the kidney, spleen and liver meridians cross.

Other Important Point Locations

Around the base of and the tips of ears, and the tip of the tail- rub the ear from the base to the tip for a very relaxing effect. The ear flaps and outer ear areas are a hologram for the entire body. The triple heater meridian, the traffic controller of the body, encircles the ear flap. Massaging the ear and the flap will relax and invigorate all the organs of the body.

“Bai Hui” – located at the lumbosacral junction, in front of the pelvis. This is the all-important “point of 100 meetings” in dogs. It strengthens the hind end. The point can be held with direct pressure, or a back-and-forth motion.

Gallbladder (GB) 34- in the depression just under the head of the fibula, it strengthens the tendons and ligaments of the whole body, helps in weakness of lower legs, numbness/paralysis, and arthritis- ONE OF THE “INFLUENTIAL” POINTS

GB 20- Located under the occipital bone, below the back of the head, in the depression (“dimples”) found in the nape of the neck, at the base of the skull. It balances nervousness and irritability, seizures, and sinus infection.

Between toes- Many of the meridians either begin or end on the sides of the digits, making them “ting points”. Squeeze between each toe, at the base of the nail, on front and back legs, or just squeeze the whole foot to treat the ting points.

Along both sides of the spine, between the vertebrae- This is where the longest meridian, the urinary bladder meridian, is located. Many of these points are called “association points”, and they are associated with and influence all the different organs of the body.