Use the Small Intestine Meridian to Relieve Shoulder Pain

The Small Intestine meridian is often used to relieve shoulder pain.

“The Small Intestine receives the food that has been digested by the Spleen and Stomach and further extracts, absorbs, and distributes it throughout the body, all the while separating the pure from the turbid.” – Yellow Emperor’s Classic of Medicine

The Small Intestine meridian is one of three Yang meridians on the arm. Beginning at acupoint SI 1 on the pinky finger, it passes along the back side of the arm, behind the shoulder, crosses over the shoulder blade, and moves up to the face where it ends at acupoint SI 19. Because of the location of the Small Intestine meridian and points, it is used to support the health of the shoulder joint.
Internally, the Small Intestine meridian connects with the small intestine, stomach, and heart.


Like all meridians, the Small Intestine meridian is located on both limbs, even though it is shown on just one.

The Small Intestine meridian is used to relieve pain along its pathway, and to clear off excess heat (i.e. a fever) from the body. Interestingly, it is not used for specific issues of the small intestine.
Classical Chinese Medicine has a very different perspective of the body than western medicine. The Small Intestine meridian is one place where the differences between Chinese and western medicine really show up.
Tension in the neck and shoulders often gathers along the Small Intestine meridian.  I use the Small Intestine meridian to open the shoulder joint, which opens the flow of Qi (energy) between the upper back, neck, head, and the entire arm.

Famous Small Intestine Point

SI 10, Nao Shu, “Upper Arm Transporting Point”

SI 10 is located on the back side of the shoulder. Glide straight up from the top of the back armpit crease. Locate SI 10 directly behind the bones of the shoulder joint. Notice that the arm needs to be along the side of the body in order to find the point easily.
Use vigorous (but not painful) pressure to get the Qi moving, which will relieve shoulder pain due to stuck (stagnant) Qi.
In the diagram above, you can see how the Small Intestine meridian begins on the pinky, travels up the arm and then zigzags on the back of the shoulder. While massaging SI 10, I also squeeze the end of the pinky finger to facilitate the movement of Qi down the arm, along the meridian.

Small Intestine 10 acupoint

Small Intestine meridian in white. The point SI 10 in blue.

Shoulder Pain

There are many reasons for shoulder pain, and many acupressure points to use for shoulder pain. In almost every instance, Small Intestine 10 will be used to help reduce the pain and restricted motion.
I have written about other acupressure points to reduce shoulder pain – click here to read more about Points for Neck and Shoulder Pain.
To continue learning, check out the “All About the Small Intestine Meridian” 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. Joanne Verone on January 25, 2019 at 6:02 am

    We have taken Cindy’s online course. MY husband John and I have been MASSAGE THERAPISTS for over 30 years. We found this information very valuable. We accomplish better results with less effort. We knew Cindy Black when she was the owner of the Fingerlakes School of Therapeutic Massage in Ithaca, New York.. She is very knowledgeable and has used and taught many different MASSAGE techniques. We highly recommend that you take her course and buy her book. Thank you again Cindy for sharing all this wonderful information with us.
    Sincerely, Joanne and John Verone, Delphi Healing Arts Center, Syracuse, New York

    • Cindy Black on January 25, 2019 at 7:56 am

      Joanne and John – thank you so much! I appreciate our connection after all these years. Your words have filled my heart this morning, thank you!
      – Cindy

      • Joanne Verone on January 25, 2019 at 3:27 pm

        Today, I gave your information to one of your students from Fingerlakes, Jean Arney. She will be contacting you soon.
        Thank you for all your wonderful information.

  2. Elyse Rosewood on July 28, 2018 at 9:42 pm

    I have Crohn’s Dusease in my smaller intestine! What meridians should I work on? I am a massage therapist and just can not heal. My disease moves from large to small intestine. I kniw you are not a doctor, but I can use the tips.

    • Cindy Black on July 30, 2018 at 10:09 am

      Hi Elyse,
      I would recommend working in person with an Acupuncturist/Chinese Herbalist as well as a Massage Therapist who is skilled in abdominal massage.

      In the meantime, I would massage the Stomach Meridian on both legs – from Stomach 36 down to ST 45. ST 44 is a great point to relieve heat in the intestines, I would also work with other heat relieving points – here are the posts with that info:
      San Jiao 5
      Large Intestine 11
      Stomach 36

      I hope these ideas support your journey to health,

  3. […] Small Intestine Meridian […]

  4. Bor Wu on January 11, 2016 at 11:15 pm

    Thank you so much for Cindy and Kc, this information will be so helpful for me and my clients, when I help them with Therapeutic Massage, appreciated.
    Myself ancestry was Chinese, I have taken classes about meridians since young. But Cindy is so amazing, she is so gifted know how to explain, make it simple and easy to remember. I am so proud of her. you are awesome, whole of world so many therapists, now will using your teaching to help the clients, how blessing and wonderful , thanks.

    • Cindy Black, L.Ac., LMT on January 12, 2016 at 5:36 pm

      Dear Bor,
      From my heart to yours, thank you.

    • Kc on January 20, 2016 at 1:57 pm

      Dear Bor,
      What a sweet note. I am so glad that your path has crossed with Big Tree and Cindy’s work.
      All the best,

  5. Nicole Wright on August 26, 2015 at 3:51 am

    Having the knowledge of proper message is really important. It will definitely work to reduce the pain.

    • Kc Rossi on August 26, 2015 at 10:11 am

      Hi Nicole,
      Agreed! I just received a therapeutic massage for my neck pain and it made a big difference! 🙂

  6. Robert Boyle on April 8, 2014 at 1:33 am

    Very informative post! For people who love massage but do not the vital knowledge on how to do it, this information really helps.

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