Acupressure for Shoulder Pain & Tension

You can effectively relieve shoulder aches from stress or tension with Acupressure. Tightness in your shoulders is often a reflection of the various stresses in your life. Since almost everyone has stress-related shoulder tension, knowing the points can make all the difference!

An Emotional Connection
When our shoulder points are tight or blocked, we tend to feel irritable, frustrated, and uptight, and can easily become impatient. Acupressure can help relieve the muscle tension and also promote emotional release and balance.

I’m going to teach you how to use Acupressure both for self-care and for helping others. My intention is to give you practical ways to help loosen your shoulders and get relief. First, I’ll describe where the points are located. Next, I’ll give you Acupressure self-care techniques for relieving your own shoulder pain and tension. Finally, I’ll provide detailed instructions on how to help others.


Shoulder Pain and Tension Relief

GB21, the Shoulder Well Point
In the illustration and photo, you’ll see three points on each side. On both shoulders, the middle point is GB21, known as the Shoulder Well point. It’s located two finger-widths out from the base of your neck, and is the most potent Acupressure point for relieving shoulder tension and pain.

Additional Points
On either side of GB21, a thumb’s width distance from both sides, are additional points that tend to collect shoulder tension. When our shoulder muscles are tense, the entire area at the top of our shoulders is often tight and blocked. So it’s important to use all three points shown — GB21 in the middle, and also the points on either side.

Acupressure Self-Care

Basic Acupressure
For your left shoulder, use your right hand. Curve your right fingers in the shape of a coat hanger and place your right index, middle, and ring fingertips on the top of your left shoulder to firmly hold the three illustrated points. Let your arm relax down so the weight of it creates pressure on the points.

Take at least five slow, deep breaths with your fingers hooked into the points. Next, gradually pull down to allow more pressure. Hold these potent Acupressure points for at least one to two minutes, as you continue to take long, slow, deep breaths. End by gradually releasing the pressure, and finally let your arm come down to your lap.

Then, switch sides and repeat the exercise, using your left hand to hold the points on your right shoulder. Be sure to continue breathing deeply throughout the exercise.

Other Self-Care Techniques
You can also firmly grasp and knead these points on the top of your shoulders. Rub both sides, and spend more time on the side that is tightest or aches more. If you like deep pressure, you can tap or pound the tops of your shoulders with your fist, right on these three points.

After working on your shoulders, finish with some extra Self-Acupressure techniques. First, squeeze firmly down your arm and hand, making each squeeze “hurt good.” Then end by firmly pulling each of your fingers outward, starting on the base of each finger. Slowly and firmly pull along the whole length of each finger, finally sliding off it. If you do this finger pull vigorously, each finger should tingle for a few seconds. This will help to relieve your shoulder pain or tension.

For Partners, Friends & Lovers

Have your partner sit comfortably in a chair, and stand behind them. Rest your fingertips on his or her shoulders for a minute, using both hands. Encourage your partner to close their eyes and breathe deeply.

Then, with your thumbs or the flat part of your fists, press for a minute or two on each of the points, starting with the ones nearest their neck. Start with light pressure and then gradually increase the pressure by bringing your chest closer to your hands. Gradually release the pressure as you finish one point and move to the next.

Next, squeeze their shoulder muscles. Use your fingers and thumbs in a kneading, super-slow massage to squeeze out any tension. Bring your elbows upward and lean your weight down and inward toward your partner’s spine. If your partner needs more pressure, slowly get on your tip-toes and use your knuckles to apply pressure to the Acupressure points.

End by gradually releasing the pressure, and then simply hold your hands on their shoulders for a minute, as both of you breathe deeply.

Further Acupressure Resources

Acupressure Video & Audio

For more instructions, more Acupressure techniques, and more visuals showing you how to relieve your neck and shoulder tension, I recommend my video, Acupressure Stress Relief. Follow my voice as I give you detailed guidance for relieving your tension and pain, including headaches resulting from neck and shoulder tension. This video is available as a rental, a download, and a DVD.

I also have a Stress Relief audio download, a fully-guided program of Self-Acupressure, deep breathing, and gentle stretches to help you feel more relaxed.

Acupressure Book and eBook

Another resource for you is the book, Acupressure Pain Relief. It has an entire section on “Arm and Shoulder Pain,” along with many other sections on how to reduce pain in specific areas of the body. It’s fully illustrated with many photos and diagrams, making it easy to use, and is available both as a printed book and as an eBook download.