Sciatic Pain and Meridian Massage

Meridian Massage is a simple and effective way to ease sciatic pain.

Understanding sciatic pain from the Meridian Massage perspective:
The first step is to differentiate the path of the pain.  Is the pain traveling along the Gallbladder meridian or the Urinary Bladder meridian?
Sciatic pain frequently follows the Gallbladder meridian (GB) precisely along its path. Although the Gallbladder meridian begins at the corner of the eye, this long meridian travels along the side of the head, side of the trunk, hip, outer side of the leg, lateral ankle, and ends on the fourth toe.
Gallbladder Meridian (hip to toe only)
Sciatic pain less often, but frequently enough, follows the path of the Urinary Bladder (UB) meridian.
The UB meridian (also known as Bladder meridian) begins on the inner corner of the eye, travels over the top of the head, down the back parallel to the spine, through the center of the buttocks, over the center of the back of the thigh (hamstrings) and lower leg, along the lateral ankle, and ends on the fifth toe.
Simple differentiation
Does the pain travel down the side of the leg (GB) or the back of the leg (UB)?

Urinary Bladder Meridian

Urinary Bladder Meridian

Key Point: GB 30
GB30_SmallThe Gallbladder point 30 is located in the lateral buttocks.  This point if often a site of focused sciatic pain. Pain that is radiating from this point is easily attributed to the Gallbladder meridian. Interestingly, GB 30 is also where the piriformis muscle crosses over the sciatic nerve.
Sciatic pain may or may not travel all the way to the foot. Ask your client if the pain is traveling along the side of their leg (Gallbladder meridian) or down the back of their leg (Urinary Bladder meridian). They will likely point to the exact meridian, either on the side of the thigh (GB) or to the hamstrings (UB).
I always apply pressure to the point GB 30 to assess if the Qi is stagnant there, even if they say the pain is down the back of the leg along the UB meridian.
Gallbladder Meridian

Gallbladder Meridian runs along the sides of the body.

What is pain?
Rather than differentiating nerve pain from muscle pain, within the context of Meridian Massage, sciatic pain is due to Qi stagnation. For some reason the Qi is not able to flow all the way through the meridian. When the Qi flows again through the meridian and points, the result will be sciatic pain relief. Simply put, Meridian Massage gets the Qi flowing again.

Stagnant Qi is Qi that gathers and does not move.

Like swelling within a joint causes pain from the gathering pressure, Qi that gathers and stagnates in one place also causes pain. The strange thing about Qi is that because it is energy we do not see it, but we sure do feel it!
Meridian Massage to Move Qi
All we need to do in order to relieve sciatic pain is move the Qi. Qi that flows smoothly in the meridians creates feelings of vibrancy and ease, as opposed to stagnant, stuck Qi that creates feelings of pain and constriction.
Use light, quick strokes on the affected meridian from the beginning point of the pain in the low back or buttock area all the way down to the toe. Ask yourself, “How do I move this Qi?” Let moving the Qi be the focus of your mind and awareness. Allow all of the massage skills you already know to flow through your body, creating the perfect set of techniques for the unique individual you are working on right now.
Contrast massaging the meridian with moving Qi at specific points along the way. On the Gallbladder meridian, be sure to attend to GB 30, 34, 40, 41 and 44. Allow yourself to create movement at these points, open the blockages, and create space for the Qi to flow. As the Qi flows, your client will report relief from their sciatic pain.
On the Urinary Bladder meridian, be sure to attend to UB points on the sacrum (UB 31 – 34*), UB 36, 40, 60*, 62, 67. (*Sacral points and UB 60 are contraindicated in pregnancy.)
Nerve pain relief can be felt as the result of getting the Qi moving again. A tight piriformis muscle will relax as the Qi flows. Chronic sciatic nerve pain is relieved when the Qi flows and the piriformis relaxes.
Meridian Massage focuses on the state of the Qi because the state of the underlying Qi is what gives rise to the state of the physical body. Health and vitality are physical reflections of abundant, flowing, harmonious Qi.
To continue learning, check out the “Relieve Sciatic Pain” video on demand.

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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. Miralva Gusmao on May 6, 2021 at 2:18 am

    I just found your site and I am so glad I did. Great information here.
    I’m a Tai Chi instructor and practitioner as well as an acupressure therapist.
    Your information aligns with all I know of TCM and you present it in a simple and clear way.
    Thank you!

    • Cindy Black on May 6, 2021 at 9:34 am

      Hi Miralva,
      I am happy that our paths have crossed – thanks for saying hello, it’s wonderful to meet you too!

      – Cindy

  2. Jenna on October 19, 2017 at 4:29 pm

    I had an acupuncturist treat me on GB 34, because I was experiencing pain in my lower back and on my feet. However, this caused me to have excruciating pain, pressure, spasming of my entire leg. My knees also. I came very affected – it’s been two years and my knees continue to feel heavy and painful, when I sleep my two legs feel like two sticks. Can you explain this why this may have happened?

    • Cindy Black on October 19, 2017 at 5:01 pm

      I am not sure what happened during your treatment.
      Sometimes pain comes from connecting with very stagnant Qi, sometimes it can happen if the needle contacts a nerve – I have no way of knowing if either of these possibilities are what happened with you.
      I am sorry that you are still experiencing pain – you may want to consult with an experienced hands-on practitioner.

  3. Heidi on February 9, 2017 at 9:36 pm

    Hi Cindy! Fantastic info…would you treat unaffected side as well? Thank you

    • Cindy Black, L.Ac., LMT on February 10, 2017 at 12:07 pm

      Hi Heidi,
      Yes, I work the other side as well. The meridians and points of a given meridian have an affect on each other from side to side – sometimes more relief comes from working the unaffected side – thanks for adding that in. 🙂

  4. Susan Smith on August 4, 2015 at 1:55 pm

    Hi Cindy:
    I participated in your webinar yesterday and it was awesome. For sciatica pain would both sides be worked – in other words are the meridians and points on both sides of the body or only on the right side? Just a little confused since most drawings show the right side.
    Thank you.

    • Kc Rossi on August 4, 2015 at 2:54 pm

      Hi Susan,
      So glad that you enjoyed the webinar on How to Relieve Sciatic Pain. To answer your question, both the meridians and points are on both sides. The diagrams only illustrate one side for simplicity. 🙂

  5. lucy on April 11, 2015 at 3:28 pm

    Thanks for the great info you share. What is your opinion on getting treatment for frozen person”s disease ? I feel there is something wrong with mylower back ….in the bony area, this
    is affecting me to walk particularly after 2 or 3 pm. Doctors cannt pinpoint reason for this annoying pain and sttifness. Trying to deal with it for over a year.I have seeing a chiropractor, neurologist,back specialist,reumatologist…feel like not going anywhere. Thanks again

    • Cindy Black, L.Ac., LMT on April 11, 2015 at 6:39 pm

      Hi Lucy,
      I’m sorry you are in pain and having a hard time finding help. I’m not able to give you advice as an in person consultation would be necessary. But I would recommend consulting with a Feldenkrais Practitioner, Acupuncturist, or Massage Therapist in your area. These are the kinds of practitioners who will have a very different view of your condition and may be able to help you resolve your pain.
      Here is a link to learn more about Feldenkrais this website is has a “find a practitioner” link.
      Here is a link for locating an Acupuncturist
      Here is a link for locating a Massage Therapist (link is in upper left corner)

  6. Bianca on April 28, 2014 at 1:03 am

    Woo hoo! Can’t wait to help my mom and my friend with this! Thank you so much for the information ^_^

  7. Sheri ONeill on December 27, 2013 at 6:41 am

    Good morning Cindy,
    I just opened your newest e mail. Big Deal GB34 point.
    I couldn’t find a spot on the e mail to respond to you. Probably just me being computer challenged. But had to keep looking because I just had to respond . Loved the explanation about what happens when energy gets jammed. I immediately went to find this point on myself and my husband. And I am soo looking forward to the PDF on the big deal points that you have put together. Congratulations.
    You are such a beautiful healer. I am so grateful to have found you and look forward to sharing you with my friends.

  8. Meredith Carpenter on January 11, 2013 at 5:33 pm

    This is awesome! I have had fantastic success using these techniques in my massage practice. Last week I was using Tui na techniques on the UB channel around T6, and the client had nerve sensations on the UB points around the ankle. It was so cool! Doing a contrast application around GB30 with hot and room temperature basalt stones has worked like a charm too. Can’t wait to keep learning more!!

    • Cindy Black on January 11, 2013 at 7:45 pm

      Hi Meredith,
      Your idea of contrast applications to GB 30 is brilliant – thanks for sharing that!
      So glad that Meridian Massage is serving you and your clients well – it’s really moved my whole practice forward.
      Stay in touch

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