Acupressure for Low Back Pain: One Key Acupoint

Bladder 40 for low back painBladder 40 is used to relieve low back pain

Bladder 40 is the Command Point of the back.
Command Points are one of many categories of acupoints used in Chinese medicine. As the Command of the Back, Bladder 40 is an essential point to add into your sessions aimed at relieving low back pain. Regardless of the type of hands-on healing you practice, adding in acupoints is a way to offer more relief to your clients.

Bladder 40 acupuncture point

Acupuncture points are the same as acupressure points, acupoints, or simply “points.”
These acupoints were mapped out thousands of years ago in China. Throughout the ages, practitioners have used hands-on contact with these points in order to relieve pain. Hands-on contact is referred to as “acupressure,” while the insertion of very thin needles is referred to as “acupuncture.”

Bladder 40 is located behind the knees.

Bladder 40 clear diagram for low back pain

Bladder 40 is in the center of the crease at the back of the knees.

BL 40 is located right in the center of the back of the knee.
First, notice the crease that marks the back of the knee. Bladder 40 is at the center point of that crease.
The back of the knee is a vulnerable area.
Use very light pressure on Bladder 40 so that you do not injure the knee joint. By using gentle, circular motion you can activate Bladder 40 in order to help reduce low back pain.

Listen to a recording of this blog post:

To continue learning, check out the “Reduce Low Back Pain” video on demand.

Cindy Black

Cindy Black is the Founder of Big Tree School of Natural Healing and the author of Meridian Massage, Pathways to Vitality. She is appreciated for her ability to make the complex accessible, fun, and practical.


  1. Julie on March 22, 2023 at 8:39 pm

    Just stumbled on this after getting a massage and noticing how tender the back of knees were. Interesting, because I have been having a lot of lower back pain. Quick question – if one knee point is more tender, does that correspond with the same side of the back, or does it correspond with the opposite side? Thanks!

    • Cindy Black on March 23, 2023 at 2:50 pm

      Hi Julie,
      Great question – in my experience sometimes there is direct correspondence and sometimes not. Each of the 12 meridians is located on both sides and are in relationship to each other.
      Some people say there is a “criss-cross” relationship, some say not. I notice what is real for each person and go with that. In practice, if there were pain in the left lower back I would massage the Bladder 40 points on both legs and ask my client what their experience is, and then use their experience to guide my work.
      I hope that helps!

  2. Genevieve Broadway on September 26, 2016 at 1:34 pm

    How long do I apply this pressure for. My husband has lower back pain every once in a while. Thanks for the info.

    • Cindy Black, L.Ac., LMT on September 27, 2016 at 10:05 am

      This is the big question!
      My answer always begins with “it depends.” It depends on the person you are working with and their unique set of circumstances, along with you, and your unique circumstances.
      Here is a blog post that I wrote to explain this in more detail
      Thanks for your great question!

  3. Genesis M. Roy, LMT, ISHA on September 22, 2016 at 4:35 pm

    Thanks Cindy Great Article: This is one of my favorite points since recovering from two spinal surgeries … Always during the shifting of seasons it is my cure-all point for alleviating my back pain.

    • Cindy Black, L.Ac., LMT on September 22, 2016 at 8:25 pm

      Yes, it is an important to use for back pain!

  4. Rajeswari on September 22, 2016 at 12:55 pm

    Thank you very much Cindy. I came to know an important acupoint for my back pain

    • Cindy Black, L.Ac., LMT on September 22, 2016 at 8:25 pm

      You are most welcome!

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