Shoulder pain – Acupressure points can help!

Shoulder pain is a challenge!

I never realized how much I relied on my shoulders until I experienced limiting shoulder pain. Every little action with my hands created pain in my shoulder. There are many causes of shoulder pain. Fortunately, there are many acupressure points for relieving shoulder pain.
Let me introduce you to two acupoints that can be used to reduce shoulder pain:

San Jiao 14 and Large Intestine 15

Shoulder pain

Gently massage L. Intestine 15 and San Jiao 14 to relieve shoulder pain

How to locate Large Intestine 15 and San Jiao 14

  1. Place a hand on top of your shoulder. Feel for a bone at the top of your shoulder, it will feel like a “flat shelf.”

    Shoulder pain

    Feel for the boney “shelf” at the top of your shoulder

  2. Slide your hand down from this bone to the outside of your upper arm.
  3. Keep your hand on the upper arm while you raise that arm to the side, away from your hip. Just raise it a little in order to activate the muscle (the deltoid muscle).

    Shoulder pain

    Lift your arm out to the side

  4. Now feel for two indentations in the muscle, just below the “shelf of the shoulder.”
  5. The indentation that is more toward the front is acupressure point L. Intestine 15 (LI 15).
  6. The indentation that is more toward the back is acupressure point San Jiao 14 (SJ 14).
Shoulder pain

Regular massage to these acupoints can help prevent pain

How to use acupressure points to relieve shoulder pain

Apply gentle pressure to these points. Experiment contacting both points at the same time or separately. I find that some people prefer to contact one acupressure point at time, some like the feeling of both. Use a gentle circular pressure to massage these points.

How much pressure?

Never cause pain with your pressure because that will only counteract the benefits of acupressure. Start with light pressure, and then slowly increase it until it feels “just right.” Be sure to keep your breath moving while massaging these points to help the energy flow. The intention of using acupressure points to relieve pain is to help the energy flow. Once the energy is flowing freely, the pain is relieved.

How long should you massage an acupressure point?

Start with massaging these acupressure points for 15-30 seconds. Then pause and notice how you feel. Try again for a few more seconds. Be sure to keep breathing and feeling into your shoulder area. Pause and notice the response. Once you are able to feel how you respond to these acupressure points, you will better know how much time is just right for you.
I prefer to massage LI 15 and SJ 14 for a short time (15 seconds to a minute) three or four times a day.  A little at a time goes a long way.
Be gentle, experiment, and notice how you respond. Make adjustments based on how you feel. Things will change over time.

Here is a little of my personal story with shoulder pain

Listen to a recording of this blog post:

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. Felisa L. Bonachita on May 20, 2019 at 5:00 am

    Hi Cindy…
    I have arm pains and I might have strained my arms from exercise. I read that “sudden injuries to the arm can cause sprains or strains that are two of the main causes of sudden arm pain. A strain is caused by stretching or tearing or a muscle or tendon while a sprain is caused by stretching or tearing of a ligament”. How can I find information on pressure points for this problem?

    Thank you,
    Felis Bonachita

  2. Sylvia Rivera on January 26, 2019 at 4:31 am

    Greetings Cindy,
    I’ve had shoulder pain for a few months, and it’s more painful during cold weather. I tried acupressure on the points you suggested for a few minutes today, and the pain is practically gone! Thank you! Can you suggest points for hip?

    Thank you again,


    • Cindy Black on January 26, 2019 at 8:25 am

      Hi Sylvia,
      That is great news! So happy for you!

      The points for sciatica may help your hip – click here


  3. Loretta DeVito on January 24, 2019 at 4:16 pm

    Cindy, I suffer from sciatica pain, radiating down one leg or the other. How can I get help? Thanks

  4. Cody Rossmiller on June 18, 2018 at 10:11 pm

    Hey, years ago I had a shoulder injury to both of my shoulders. Went wild at a concert in the mosh pits and flailed my arms every direction violently. Which caused me to get baseball pitcher injury in both my rotator cuffs. Stretching and fraying the ligaments. Will these pressure points help me? Is it possible I could be cured? Or am I pretty much screwed?

    • Cindy Black on June 19, 2018 at 12:08 pm

      I would try these points, and I would also work with a practitioner to get the best help. Ask around for a qualified Massage Therapist who knows Meridian Massage or Shiatsu or Acupressure, and I would also consult with an Acupuncturist.

      The only way to know if the points will help is to try using them light pressure only, don’t create any sensation of pain when you contact the points.

      Best of luck@

  5. […] Source: […]

  6. Energy work using Meridian Massage on May 31, 2017 at 7:54 pm

    […] Relieve Shoulder Pain […]

  7. jim on February 3, 2017 at 10:12 pm

    just found out I fractured my shoulder when I fell

  8. jim on February 2, 2017 at 9:57 pm

    thank you so much Cindy for the shoulder points. today I fell on a sheet of ice and jammed my shoulder badly. I can’t raise my arm the way you wrote, but I can still work on the points. seeing a nurse in the morning. also using ice tonite

  9. Lisa on January 17, 2017 at 8:02 am

    Had very stressful collarbone, shoulder, neck and clavicle pain, felt mostly in shoulder for months now. 36 year old and sometimes can’t take off a t shirt with that arm (left). Pressed the points now felt a small click/ release and have almost double mobility instantly. Amazing.

    • Cindy Black, L.Ac., LMT on January 17, 2017 at 8:27 am

      Lisa – thank you for writing! The healing potential of Qi never ceases to amaze me!
      I’m so glad you are experiencing relief and more mobility – enjoy!

      • catherine gedge on August 1, 2019 at 6:33 pm

        Hi there, would putting magnets on these point have the same effect as pressure? Many thanks

        • Cindy Black on August 2, 2019 at 9:16 am

          Give it a try and let us know how it goes…I know that many people use magnets but I don’t have any experience using them on the points.
          It is a great idea Catherine – go for it!

  10. Margot Brand on April 21, 2016 at 4:00 pm

    Perfect timing for me. Have had right shoulder issues since January.
    Now added left wrist pain. What points can I massage for that.

    • Cindy Black, L.Ac., LMT on April 21, 2016 at 5:48 pm

      Hi Margot – here is another post about wrist pain to check out
      Depending on where the pain is, there are lots of points to choose, Most are located on the wrist crease on both sides, so explore those areas with gently massage. Wishing you quick healing.

      • Margot Brand on April 23, 2016 at 4:02 pm

        Thanks Cindy. I will give them a try!

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